The Mark Drama in your church
Please try and contact the Mark Drama staff three months before when you want to perform! This is to try and ensure a director is available and you have enough time to organise everything!
A. Two important roles
There are two important roles which need to be filled from the outset. The producer is responsible for organisation, publicity and for leading the team of actors. The director liaises with the producer and is responsible for casting; they also direct the rehearsals. The producer must be part of the church and may or may not be a member of the acting team; the director will be invited in from outside.
B. There is no script
There is no script for the Mark Drama. During the rehearsals (see note F below) the director and the team work with open Bibles and learn the drama through directed improvisation.
C. The Information Session
At least 2 months before the performances there should be an Information Session, led by the director. This is so that people can decide if they want to join the team: we cannot expect people to volunteer to join the team until they have experienced an information session. A part of this session consists of some of those present improvising and rehearsing a couple of incidents from the Gospel. In this way they can see how the rehearsals will work.
Those who then decide to join the team must have the following qualities:
- enthusiasm for drama (whether or not they have experience)
- a voice which is loud enough for the room in which the performance(s) will take place
- a willingness to learn the order of the events in Mark’s Gospel by heart. (Everyone will need a copy of The Mark Experiment in order to do this.)
Team members should be 15 years or over – but a good age spread is ideal. In practice, most of the actors are likely to be in their 20s or 30s.
D. Finding a team
After this Information Session everyone has a few days to decide if they want to join the team. The drama can go ahead, provided there are 8 men and 7 women on the team and that one of the men is suitable, willing and able to play the part of Jesus. (The director needs to be involved in this decision.)
A timetable is worked out, so that the whole team knows which section of Mark is being learnt when. Every two weeks or so there might be a team meeting for all who can make it so that the team members can test each other, get to know each other, and pray for the whole project.
E. Between the Information Session and the first rehearsal
During these 6 weeks of learning the actor playing Jesus has more to do. Apart from learning the order of the events he needs to learn the Jesus words in the Gospel. But there is no script to learn.
The director works with the Jesus actor (this can be done by e-mail) and provides him with notes to help.
During most of the 6 weeks of learning the other team members do not know which roles they will be playing. The director will make his final decision after talking to the producer and to the actor playing Jesus – and after praying a lot! The final casting will be announced a couple of weeks before the first rehearsal (2 Pharisees, 4 disciples – and 8 actors each playing a number of different roles).
F. Rehearsals and performances
Here is the usual schedule for a church production of the Mark Drama:
- First Rehearsal: Thursday (7.30pm till 10pm)
- Second Rehearsal: Friday (7.30pm till 10:15pm)
- Third Rehearsal: Saturday (9am till 4pm)
- First Performance: that same Saturday evening
- Second Performance: some time on Sunday
Performances usually last about 90 minutes, without an interval. We strongly recommend that no one under the age of 8 should come to a Mark Drama performance.
Some churches do both performances in their own building; others do the Saturday performance in their own building and offer a Sunday performance to another, smaller church.
Here are the basic steps towards putting on a Mark Drama production:
- We’ll help you find a trained Mark Drama director near you. Just send us an email.
- Arrange a date with the director for an Information Session, at least 6 weeks before your hoped-for performance dates. (Important: please do not try to find volunteers to join your team before the Information Session!)
- If, after the Information Session, you have a team of 15 actors (8 men, 7 women), then the team can start learning, and your church’s production of the Mark Drama will take place in 6-8 weeks’ time.