Drama

Dallas International University, Texas, USA
Sponsor: Center for Excellence in World Arts

The MA with a major in World Arts prepares students to work cross-culturally alongside singers, musicians, actors, dancers, storytellers, and visual artists, researching the arts of their community. Using these insights, the student will be able to spark artistic creations with artists to respond to their community’s needs in community development, health education, justice issues, language and arts preservation, literacy, Scripture engagement and translation, worship expressions, and other areas.

This program will be of interest to people with artistic skills and sensibilities, curiosity about culture, a commitment to serious research, and a drive to see others create. Depending on prior background and training, as well as the specialization and application courses chosen, graduates will be prepared for careers such as the following:

  • Arts journalist
  • Community development worker
  • Ethnodramatologist
  • Ethnomusicologist
  • Orality consultant
  • Trauma healing consultant
  • Arts consultant for Bible translation projects, Schools in cross-cultural contexts, Non-governmental organizations, Multi-ethnic churches, Literacy projects, and sending agencies
  [more...]
A Tale of Two Sons
Published by: GemStone Media (2017)

"Fatmir, a pampered vineyard owner’s son, hopes to make a name for himself. Sponsoring a smooth-talking artist, he’s swindled and loses everything. Haunted by his brother’s words of failure, Fatmir is determined to prove him wrong. Yet things go from bad to worse. Destitute and hungry, rejected and without hope, will Fatmir find the courage and strength to return home?"

The Kingdom, based on a well-known story in the Scriptures, is an 82-minute film set in the vineyards of Kosovo and beaches of Montenegro. It has won 23 film festival awards and has been dubbed or subtitled in ten languages.

The film is free to download at thekingdomfilm.com.

There is a discussion guide to encourage conversations, asking questions on the themes of 'Finding Identity', 'What is life about?', 'Money, money, fun, fun' and 'The father's faithful heart'.  [more...]

Author: Andreas Ernst (2018)

Is it possible for rural communities to develop entire radio dramas through oral processes only, without writing a script?

Our dramas have not only been able to reflect the complexity of life and the consequences of sinful attitudes and behaviour, but also the power of God at work and the attitudes and readiness to help that Christians can and should be displaying.

In this article, Andreas Ernst (based in Cameroon) presents a participatory oral approach for producing audio dramas. He argues that "Scripture engagement is all about dialogue, about interactivity", and shows how a wide range of people from a local community can be involved in developing a radio drama, without a written script.

Audio dramas can transmit educational content in an emotionally engaging way, leading to positive social change. For Scripture engagement, a participatory approach to developing such dramas offers a powerful way to let the Holy Spirit work in the hearts and minds of participants and audiences as they discover just how tangible the presence and guidance of God can be in their lives. The author has witnessed the joy and excitement of participants as they were able to share their personal experiences, views and creative ideas in the process of developing the story and while acting out their roles.  [more...]

Author: Michelle Petersen
Published by: Global Forum on Arts and Christian Faith, vol. 5:A58-A86 (2017)

"When local arts call to people at a deep level, they see the relevance of God’s word to their spiritual hunger and are free to commit to Christ while remaining members of their culture."

"The word that gives life rightly lives in all parts of our lives as it is sung, danced, dramatized, drawn, and told in stories and poems, as well as being studied and read."

Article abstract:

Because languages and arts are means of communication, principles from the field of language development that communities apply to strengthen language vitality also strengthen the vitality of local artistic genres. Arts development expands a community’s existing uses of orality and arts to new topics and functions to better meet community goals together.

Status development activities increase the number of domains of use and the level of respect given local artistic genres. Corpus development activities describe genre forms and create new works in them. Acquisition development activities add to the number of people who perform or experience new works, and increase people’s interest in them.

When communities work together to meet their Kingdom goals, arts development activities add to the number of people who encounter God’s word in life-transforming ways.  [more...]

EthnoDoxology Volume 4, No. 4 (2010): 22-31
Author: Michelle Petersen

Scripture Relevance Drama is a tool for facilitating use of translated Scripture and developing minority languages. Indigenous authors and vocal actors dramatize local life situations as contexts for characters telling topical Bible stories. Other plays explore community development and health issues, such as how to avoid malaria, the benefit of immunizations, or the need to cover local wells to protect young children from falling into them.

The Lunaba Drama Team takes their culture’s artistic tradition to a wider audience through their weekly half-hour radio drama program. The Lunaba Drama Team is also continuing to give live performances. The framework presented in this paper may be used for developing Scripture Relevance Dramas and/or Community Development Relevance Dramas in local languages with or without the radio distribution strand.  [more...]

A Manual to Help Communities Reach their Kingdom Goals
Author: Brian Schrag
Published by: William Carey Library (2013)

Brian Schrag’s Creating Local Arts Together manual has both a stirring and exhilarating effect as the reader envisions the possibility of a community’s arts used for the purposes of God’s kingdom and, at the same time, is thorough and informative with respect to the research process involved in getting to know the arts and worldview of a community.

The manual contains seven sections which correspond to the seven steps of Creating Local Arts Together. They are:

  1. Meet a community and its arts
  2. Specify kingdom goals
  3. Select effects, content, genre, and events
  4. Analyze an event containing the chosen genre
  5. Spark creativity
  6. Improve new works
  7. Integrate and celebrate for continuity

Gunnhild Bremer has written a review of the book (downloadable below) which includes reasons why it is useful for Scripture Engagement practitioners.  [more...]

A guide for narrators and actors
Author: Mark Datson

"Make a big effort to understand the full meaning of the text... Try to put yourself in the shoes of your character. Think of their character, their temperament, their behaviour. What do they like? What don’t they like?"

This is a list of advice for narrators and actors working on audio products for promoting Scripture Engagement. These could be dramatised Bible portions or Scripture relevance dramas.

The advice comes from a drama team with many years of experience in producing radio programmes in West Africa.  [more...]

Communicating effectively to non-readers
Author: Rick Brown
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (21.4 Winter 2004)

In seeking to free ourselves from the biases of a print-oriented culture, we need to consider, not only the kinds of media and discourse genre (e.g. narrative) that are most appropriate for oral cultures, but also the most effective ways to use those genres and media. What do non-readers like to see and hear? What do they enjoy listening to? Their choices will not necessarily be the same as those of print communicators. If the styles of presentation are ones which oral communicators prefer, then they will be more likely to listen, to understand, and to remember what they hear.

In this paper, Rick Brown argues that oral cultures have their own preferences for ways to communicate truth, and that these are often different from what print-oriented people prefer. In order to share the message most effectively, we need to find out what media and methods work best for them. In most cases this will include a multi-media approach with an emphasis on memorizing the Scriptures with the aid of high-quality recordings from skilled actors or voicers.  [more...]