Long-lasting Impact

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Recently I received an email from a student from Glasgow University in Scotland. He has recently begun training as a Mark Drama director, and I had asked him when he had first encountered the Mark Drama.

It was at UCCF Forum in 2018.

I had taken a team up to Forum to do three performances of the Mark Drama. The hope was that most of the 900 students there would get to see what Mark Drama was like, and might decide that their CU should put on a production.

This is what he wrote: I truly was amazed by it. Particularly the Garden of Gethsemane which I now read in a whole new light.

That first encounter with the Mark Drama was two years ago this week. The impact is long-lasting.

There is power in the word of God!

Wow, it will be great to get back to regular Mark Drama productions again.

The Big Question

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The big question you may be asking is When is Mark Drama going to start up again?

Me too.

Well, it’s already started up again in New Zealand, with the audience social-distancing (but not the actors).

But I have no idea when that is hoping to be possible in the UK, and I have no information as yet about other countries.

It’s good to know that God is in control!


Sheffield CU: One of the Highlights of 2018!

Uncover Mark: a brilliant start

So Christian Unions are being encouraged to put on their own productions of the Mark Drama, to help CU members to ask their friends to read Mark’s Gospel with them. At the beginning of December I directed for a joint team from the two main CUs in Sheffield: this was the first Mark Drama as part of Uncover Mark. Charlie, a first-time director, was directing with me.

And it was stunning.

I travelled up to Sheffield with high hopes, but all my expectations were surpassed. Alex, who was playing Jesus, had done a brilliant job learning the lines: he was fluent and spoke these amazing words of Jesus with authority.

And the whole team threw themselves into the whole thing. I think that very early on in the first rehearsal they were experiencing the power of the Gospel, which is obviously very motivating. It was brilliant to see it all taking shape.

On the Monday and Tuesday evenings they produced two very strong performances. There were around 130 there on Monday, and perhaps 85 on Tuesday, with lots of visitors both times. And they were gripped, so much so that when we got to the last section, with the last supper, Gethsemane, the arrest, the trials and the cross, the audience was still and the silence was intense.

This Sheffield Mark Drama was one of the major highlights of 2018 for me: I am astonished at how the Lord was at work, both in the rehearsals and in the performances. I thank God for these two CUs, for the Mark Drama team, and for the power of the gospel story.

And for the miracles he is doing in students’ hearts.

Mark Drama in Reading

This was a massive highlight for me.

I was directing for Kennet Valley Free Church. The team age-range went from 16 up to 70 (I’m guessing here, so I may be offending some of my readers!): the challenge for me was that we had no one between the ages of 22 and 34.

But they were brilliant: loads of focus and commitment. And Charlie, who was playing Jesus and who had never seen Mark Drama, was superb: he had learnt the Jesus words incredibly well and spoke them out so you could feel the authority in them, and he was very quick at every point of the rehearsals to get what I was looking for.

And Section Six, which includes Gethsemane, the arrest, the trials and the crucifixion, was astonishingly powerful. I was moved in the rehearsals as well as in both performances.

As were many who came to experience the Mark Drama themselves.

Please thank God with me for the power of the Gospel. And let’s pray for fruit that will make eternity different!

The Mark Drama at FORUM

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3 Mark Drama performances in 24 hours.

15 volunteer actors from around the U.K.

A swanky tent in a field in Wales.

Nearly 900 attendees.


What a week we had last week!

UCCF  had their annual student leader’s conference FORUM and launched Uncover Mark, which is part of the Uncover  series that encourages students to encounter Jesus by reading a gospel and discussing it with a friend.

Over the next few years, Christian Unions in the UK will be going for it in inviting fellow students to look at Jesus in Mark’s gospel. As part of this, UCCF invited us to come and put on a Mark Drama so students could see it and consider doing the Mark Drama at their campus.

It was amazing. FORUM is an exciting conference and we were honoured to be a part of it. Many people were moved by the performances and came and spoke to members of the team afterwards. Some UCCF staff said that even the sceptics were converted to doing the Mark Drama!

In all, some 25 Christian Unions expressed a desire to do the Mark Drama in the next academic year and gave specific dates for when they would like to do it. Our challenge now is to provide directors for each production so they can happen!

Please do pray for enough capable, quality directors and please thank God with us for how he helped us this past week at FORUM.

We are excited for what God is doing and will do through UCCF, Uncover Mark, and the Mark Drama!


Directors’ Training: what happens now?

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It’s brilliant that we have 20 new directors ready to go.

But I hope that we will need a lot more than that. At UCCF Forum at the end of August I will be directing a team which will do 3 performances of the Mark Drama, with an audience of 300 at each.

And CU leaders from all over the country will be watching.

Afterwards they will have the opportunity to indicate that their CU wants to do the Mark Drama at their university. Nearly all of these productions will happen in the late January-early March window.

So we need more directors.

Please pray for Callom and me as we talk to UCCF about how we can find more people willing and able to be Mark Drama directors. Should we also train some students? Do we do more training weekends, or do we try to train the next tranche of directors on the job as they shadow a production?

Wisdom needed! And directors needed too!


Directors’ Training: what we did

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Some of the 20 new directors-in-training had never seen the Mark Drama.

So a key part of this past weekend was me directing parts of the drama, with the participants doing the acting (and Callom playing Jesus). You could sense the enthusiasm mounting.

5 who had already shadowed a production then each directed a few incidents in Mark: they did a great job.

There was also an opportunity to show everyone how the director works with the Jesus actor (before any of the rehearsals) to work on two of the most demanding scenes: Gethsemane and the cross.

We had to pass on a lot of director’s materials to everyone too. It didn’t look like anyone was suffering from information overload: they could see the value of all they were getting.

Please pray that all 20 new directors will take time soon to go through the materials they’ve gone home with. Everyone’s excited about the prospect of directing, but everyone’s aware, too, that they have a lot to do in order to internalise the whole drama, so they can direct everything as far as possible without looking at the notes.

And let’s be praying that all 20 of these directors will experience the Lord’s help as they prepare themselves to direct, and then as they direct productions in 2019.

And that many students will come to know Jesus!


The Mark Drama and Uncover Mark

This past weekend it’s like a door has opened.

In September UCCF is kick-starting Uncover Mark in university CUs. As part of this they’re going to encourage CUs to put on their own production of the Mark Drama.

For that to be possible we need directors. Lots of them.

Callom and I trained 20 new directors this past weekend. They came from all over, committed to learning how to help CUs proclaim the good news in this way. They worked hard. They asked good questions. They studied the director’s materials.

One comment was typical: I’m much more confident after this weekend! Here’s another: I’m very positive. Lemme at ‘em!

20 new directors. We need a lot more, but this weekend has been a fantastic start.

A door has opened.