The 1914 Christmas truce  


We estimate that this sketch will take around three minutes to perform. There can be a group of any number miming the suggested actions. Half should be dressed in green and half in grey to denote different nationalities. The narration can be read by one voice or several. If the actors are at a distance from the audience, the actions will need to be slightly exaggerated. 

Narration: 

Christmas Eve 1914. Enemies. Festering in trenches, mired in stinking mud (mime peeping over trenches, trying to lift feet) So close to one another, they can smell each other’s food (sniff) Shivering, exhausted, given orders to shed villainous blood (aim rifles at each other) In rare sleep they dream of home, missing those they love (head on hands as though sleeping) 

In the midst of darkness, light (cover eyes with hands, then fling hands outwards) In the midst of bleakness, hope (hands on head, head bowed, then slowly lift head and look upwards) A touch of heaven in the midst of hell (crouched in ‘crash’ position; stand and reach one arm upwards) 

Germans – adorning Christmas trees with flickering lights (german side only to mime this) Reach out the hand of friendship across the desolate divide (reach out hands towards British) Astonished, with glee the British respond, glad of the respite (move across and shake hands) And all relish their shared humanity that Christmas Eve night (mime swapping gifts, taking photos) 

In the midst of darkness, light (cover eyes with hands, then fling hands outwards) In the midst of bleakness, hope (hands on head, head bowed, then slowly lift head and look upwards) A touch of heaven in the midst of hell (crouched in ‘crash’ position; stand and reach one arm upwards) 

Then on the war-ravaged landscape, football united (three or four frozen poses from a game of football) The Germans took the victory – by just one goal decided (hold up score cards 3-2/all cheer etc) It truly was a beautiful game, but this peace couldn’t abide (all walk back to original sides) Until far too many had laid down their lives (one by one fall to the floor or bow heads) 

As we recall that staggering Christmas truce one hundred years on (one actor moves forward) Awed once more by the power of love, in the Christ child born (actor mimes rocking a baby) Let ‘Peace on earth, good will to all!’ prompt our actions and our thoughts (actor with hands outstretched, like angel) And thank Jesus and those courageous ones, whose blood our peace has brought (use arms to make a cross) 

In the midst of darkness, light (cover eyes with hands, then fling hands outwards) In the midst of bleakness, hope (hands on head, head bowed, then slowly lift head and look upwards) A touch of heaven in the midst of hell (crouched in ‘crash’ position; stand and reach one arm upwards) 

Written by Sue Langwade 

Tearfund’s Registered Charity No. SC037624 (Scotland) Registered Charity No. 265464 (England and Wales) 31233-(0914)