theatrical ensemble in rehearsal

We lead participants in theater skills including script analysis, character development and improvisation to open literature in illuminating experiences.

The experience can cause them to grow to the point of presenting the literature to their larger community, sparking significant conversations and inspiring more plays. However, performance is optional and left to the discretion of the group. No individual is required to perform. Many benefits are gained by simply watching and listening. The skills acquired in the seminar include contemplative ways of studying literature.

If you have a member in your community who is knowledgeable in theater, your group could navigate the progression we suggest below. We have conducted this event with success for groups which have very little experience.

Three possible configurations of this experience could build upon each other:

  • The weekly series allows more time for participants to study, practice skills and roles, as well as grow in understanding of story and character. This may be a good way to follow the shorter events.
  • The one-day workshop might depend more upon developing improvisational skills and a shorter script. A performance or just discussion at the end of the day could be combined with an informal potluck for the larger community.  This kind may be the way to spark interest in the weekly series.
  • The two-day weekend retreat, would allow more thought and rehearsal of a simple script, as well as provide a more contemplative approach.  Participants would be able to come back on the second day with fresh insights and energy to build upon what had been learned the first day.  This also may be the way to spark interest in the weekly series, or refresh the vision after a season of theater work.
The Progression
  1. A group of participants numbering from 10 to 20 people interested in a range of activities from theatrical work (play writing, directing, producing and acting) to contemplative studies meets for guided discussion of a scripture passage or other piece of literature.
  2. Through script and character development, improvisation and rehearsal the group experiences spiritual growth through using theater techniques.
  3. The culmination of the course, workshop, or retreat could be either sharing together what each participant has gained, or a public performance in which audience conversation is stimulated. Performance could be incorporated into a worship service simply or elaborately, as reader’s theater, improvisation, or fully staged, depending on the capacities of the group. For larger events, such as a theater camp, the presentation could be composed of a collection of short, coordinated scripts, or one longer script.
  4. At the event the next workshop, or series, and performance date could be announced with the invitation for others to experience the process.
  5. The process could hold the potential for developing quality dramas for houses of faith, or simply to immerse the group in the study of literature. The ability for a group to present theatrical pieces in the wider community, for instance a church group during the Easter and Advent seasons, could also develop.

Our role in this progression is to stimulate your community to rise as the kinds of creators they are meant to be. As spiritual leaders, artists and theater
practitioners, Mark and Donna kindly guide, teach, and encourage participants to grow both spiritually and as creators through the complete experience. The
accessibility to your community of a large rehearsal/performance space will be important and a raised stage with extra lights would be very helpful.

To learn more and discuss how to adapt Word Show to your community, please e-mail MarkandDonna at