If you have decided to “do drama” in your church (or school – in which case translate some of the words below as appropriate) it is probably for one or more of the following reasons:
- You think your church needs it – it could convey truths and ideas in a way that is less boring than the sermon, less twee than the songs and understandable on many levels by many age groups.
- You have been asked or told to do it – probably by a minister/pastor/youth leader who believes you are the right person for the job because
- They were told by God
- You didn’t appear to have many other jobs
- You were alone at the back of the coffee queue.
- You have a group who you think would benefit from doing drama – probably youngish people who currently aren’t involved in much and you think that this would be an ideal way to give them a goal, make them useful, keep them off the streets and bind them into the fabric of the church.
- You feel a call/urge/desire to express yourself on stage or in writing.
When most people start off doing drama one or more of these reasons are what motivates them, and if that is true for you then that is alright. You are in good company.
Why is drama good?
Are there reasons why drama itself is good? Is drama, quite simply, a good way to communicate? You might like to consider the following.
- We are made to understand stories – even very young children can follow a story when they can’t listen to two sentences of information. We are just made that way.
- People choose to listen to stories – whether sitting round a fire in a tribal village or sitting in front of a television in a city apartment. Stories are a natural part of life.
- People want the stories told to them – they might love stories but most don’t read books. Sad but true.
- A visual element to storytelling makes the story even more memorable. The two elements cement each other in place in our minds.
- People absorb ideas in small chunks – the average person can’t take in a half-hour monologue. Ask people leaving a church service which element of it they remember, and it is unlikely to be a fact buried in the sermon and rather more likely to be one of the shorter items – a video, a drama, a song, a childrens’ talk.
- Drama can be multi-layered – and therefore can speak to a whole range of people at once. Children can laugh at the visual gags in a drama and learn simple facts while their parents are having their deepest beliefs challenged. Believers and non-believers can both take something away from the same script. Dramatists have taken advantage of this ability for hundreds of years.
- People learn from illustration – Ideas need to be made visible for most people to follow. Jesus knew this very well. When talking to the crowds he often didn’t tell his listeners what point he was making, he just told a story and let the ideas form in the listeners’ own heads.
So listening to stories is natural, we all do it by choice and it is an ideal way for us to absorb information and form ideas, particularly if there are both audio and visual elements. You can speak to a whole range of people at once and they will each form ideas that will be long-lasting. Tell a person what you think and they will most likely argue. Tell a story and it can visually plant an idea in people’s minds that they will think about for some time.
Why do drama? Lots of reasons, but mainly – it works! And it is lots of fun and it is team building and it can give the participants lots of confidence they never had and yes, it does break up an hour long service. So the question is, why not do drama?
How To Do Drama is a slightly haphazard guide for the new or young drama group and its terrified actors, hopeful director and baffled script writer.
You can see our full collection of instantly-downloadable drama scripts at Drama scripts.