News and Updates

No acting experience required

By Amy Cheng, Member of Grace Point Presbyterian, Lidcombe

“No acting experience required. Looking for people who love Jesus.” Those were the requirements to join the Mark Drama production at my church in Lidcombe.

I first heard about the Mark Drama from a missionary who had returned from the mission field. Sharing about her time on mission to a group of uni students at their annual conference, she talked about the production. As she described it, I grew more and more fascinated by the unusual aspects of it – no script, central staging, and actors interacting with the audience. I wanted to see it for myself, however, the Mark Drama had not made its way to Australia yet.

In 2015, I got my first chance to see it at Moore College, and was gripped and moved by it. A year later, I saw another production by Credo, which some of my friends acted in. I vowed to take part in it if it came to my church. I finally got that chance in 2018. There was no script to learn but all actors of the cast had to familiarise themselves with Andrew Page’s The Mark Experiment book. It was divided into six sections, with each section representing an aspect of Jesus’ life and ministry. The cast was given six weeks to read through, learn and memorise the sections. Memorising the sections was often a laborious process, with me constantly falling behind and needing to memorise two sections in one week.

Before I knew it, the week of rehearsals had arrived. We were given our roles just days prior to the first rehearsal ; I was cast as one of the plus cast. With just two days until production, no scripts, and a cast full of inexperienced actors, it seemed like an impossible task.

However, it all came together beautifully during rehearsals, and I sensed God at work helping to bring it all together. The directors also provided invaluable assistance in teaching us how to deliver our lines. The most valuable thing they taught us, however, was to pray for each other during the performance, particularly for the actor playing Jesus.

Soon, it was the night of the first performance. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. As the audience trickled in, I grew more and more petrified. What if I forget my lines? What if I can’t act convincingly? However, I reminded myself that this was not a performance to bring glory to myself but to God.

As a member of the plus cast, I had several roles to play. My favourite was the widower who offered up her two measly coins during offertory time. She gave all she had because she recognised the value of Jesus.

Acting in the Mark Drama was an unforgettable experience. Right from the memorisation process, rehearsals and through to performance day, I was able to see Jesus’s life and ministry in a different way. By putting myself in the shoes of those who were healed by Him, listened to His teachings, and witnessed His crucifixion, I marvelled at the great man that He is – compassionate, merciful, gracious, loving and infinitely wise.

Life sown in Springwood

Nestled on the shady edge of the NSW Blue Mountains, Springwood is blanketed with blossoms and bulbs in these greening spring months. But earlier this year, as the autumn leaves turned to brown, eternal seeds were sown…
“I first heard about The Mark Drama from my daughter who saw the production in Orange last year. I love creative ways of sharing the gospel! Springwood Anglican has a really energetic, committed congregation of young people, so I thought some might be keen to be part of it. Our Senior Pastor was supportive, so I took the plunge and became the Producer. Praise God for his faithfulness – Hundreds attended our two performances in March. God answered our many prayers for the cast’s memorisation, and we were just thrilled that the Gospel was communicated so clearly.” Judy 
 
“When I first heard about The Mark Drama, I was eager to be involved. Initially, it looked like an exciting event! But the weeks leading up to the rehearsals were a little bit daunting. Learning the sequence of events in Mark’s Gospel was not easy! However, as rehearsal time approached I improved in my recollection of the details. God’s word is now written on my heart!” From an actor.
 
“There were moments of challenge for me as part of the cast. Being the centurion beside Jesus on the cross was extremely moving. I had tears streaming down my face. And the challenge of acting out the brutality of the trial scene before Caiaphas and Pilate was quite confronting. Finally, I truly appreciated our Director’s style in directing and coaching the cast. I don’t think I have ever met someone so encouraging and helpful for myself and others in unfamiliar roles.” Warren Irwin
 
Of the hundreds who came to see The Mark Drama in Springwood, many were struck by the goodness of Christ’s sacrifice for sinners.
“Thank you for your work and effort. It was stark, edgy and confronting. Christ did suffer for us… I felt so unworthy… I was sitting near the ‘cross scene’ – WOW.”
“I just wanted to thank you, your staff team and the organisers of The Mark Drama for an amazing experience last night. It was a challenging and moving experience. It is so important to see the Gospel presented in various ways so we do not become settled in the message we have heard so many times.”
 
On Sunday night, I attended The Mark Drama. I would like to thank you deeply for putting this on – not only for the growth of those who follow Christ, but also for the attendees who do not know much about Jesus. It was so incredible and spirit moving in how the gospel was brought to life.”
May God use the words sown to bring fruitful life to those in Springwood and beyond.

Sowing in Queensland

Our hearts are breaking for those in Queensland affected by the drought. Reports estimate that almost 60% of the state is now suffering drought conditions. We pray the Lord will have great mercy and send plentiful rain.

We pray likewise for God’s word to go out and refresh those in Queensland with the certain hope in Christ. If you’re in the area, please come along to these upcoming performances and invite your friends.

 

Townsville
Date: Monday 13, Tuesday 14 August
Time: 7:30pm both nights
Place: The Refect, Building 12, James Cook University
For more information, please visit the Facebook event page here.

Brisbane
Date: Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 September
Time: 7.00pm both nights
Place: 141 Ann Street, Brisbane City
For more information please call 0408 708 274.

Why is the Mark Drama so popular?

This week many Anglican Churches in the South Sydney diocese are proclaiming Christ through their joint mission, “Jesus is____”. From Sutherland to Sussex Inlet, from the Wollongong coast to Campbelltown, Christians are busy inviting the community to hear why the world is lost without its maker. At Mark Drama Australia, we’re buzzing with excitement for the eight churches performing the Mark Drama during this mission (not to mention the other performances around the country).

While MDA is always excited about the Mark Drama, it seems the hype is catching! Read our latest review on the Sydney Anglicans website –> https://sydneyanglicans.net/blogs/mark-drama

 

 

Easter Productions

As we approach Easter, please pray for the many Mark Drama performances across the country. If you’re close by, do come along and invite your friends!

GEELONG (VIC):
https://www.facebook.com/events/270723773464415/

ADELAIDE (SA):
https://www.facebook.com/events/193064481287306/

WOLLONGONG Central (NSW) – The Cathedral, Fairy Meadow, Warrawong –
https://www.facebook.com/events/200104830758794/

WOLLONGONG North (NSW) – Bulli, Austinmer, Corrimal –
https://www.facebook.com/events/172864060025744/

WOLLONGONG South
Figtree –https://www.facebook.com/events/2001951513165659/
Dapto –https://www.facebook.com/events/558845174480986/

LEPPINGTON (Sydney, NSW):
https://www.facebook.com/events/491785841222951/

SPRINGWOOD (Blue Mountains, NSW):
https://www.facebook.com/events/1899102480400297/

No room at the door!

When Jesus returned home to Capernaum (Mark 2:1-2), it was reported that So Many people gathered to hear him, there wasn’t enough space! Not even at the door! The AFES group (the ECU) of Cumberland Campus, Sydney Uni, recently had this problem. Amy Fallows shares about God’s work during this time.

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The ECU presented the Mark Drama on campus at the end of Heightened Mission in September. It was an awesome time to see God’s providence. As part of the acting team, I got to spend 6 weeks learning and memorising the structure of Mark’s gospel. The actors then came together for a few rehearsals, before presenting the Mark Drama to an audience of people from our cohorts, families and other walks of life.

One awesome thing about learning Mark was that it meant I could dwell on God’s word even if I was in the car or going for a run, and I saw links I hadn’t noticed before – themes about Jesus’ authority and power, and how we should respond to His word with willing ears and hearts.

God was clearly at work though the performances, enabling fifteen inexperienced actors to present His gospel faithfully to an audience of almost 450 people (around 150 on the first night, and close to 300 on the second night. On the second night He brought so many people that we ran out of chairs!

We also had Richard Chin speak evangelistically from Mark’s gospel during heightened mission – his talks were excellent! In retrospect, running the Mark Drama and Heightened Mission talks at roughly the same time, meant that Mark Drama was the easier event to invite friends to.

Praise God for the people who came, and for enabling ECU students to have gospel conversations with people who came afterwards. Give thanks for the non-Christians who have started to read Mark’s gospel with their Christian friends since then, and pray that hearts would continue to be saved!

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 7.30.30 am

Toongabbie Anglican perform The Mark Drama

In Western Sydney recently, The Mark Drama was performed at Toongabbie Anglican. Georgie Kidd shares what it was like to be involved in this production.

The Mark Drama had a profound impact on me when I saw it last year. I came to understand Jesus as not just a written ‘voice’ in the gospels, but a real, flesh-and-blood person of such humble, gentle and loving character – the kind of person I wanted to know more, even after being a Christian since the age of 6!

So when my Church, Toongabbie Anglican, said they were hosting a production, I was stoked to be given the opportunity to perform in a Mark Drama myself! Memorising Mark’s gospel wasn’t easy (in an instant world, long-term memory abilities are lacking) but it did find me daily reading God’s Word the way that it was originally meant to be read. Early Christians memorised the Bible and the gospel of Mark is actually structured for such a purpose!

Rehearsals were fun, exhausting, nerve-wracking and rushed! But I grew so close to the amazing people in my church! Across congregations and generations, we were all united around presenting the gospel to the audience in the best way possible. I was especially impacted by Paul, who played Jesus. I could tell that as Paul memorised Jesus’ words and actions in order to act them out, God was doing a transforming work in him to make him such a humble, gentle and servant-hearted friend to all.

Being a disciple helped me really understand the disciples as people. To know what it was like to be involved in Jesus’ ministry first-hand: the miracles, stepping out in faith, cowering in fear and being harshly (and deservedly) rebuked at times. It taught me what being a disciple really is – following Jesus in faith, taking Him at His Word and humbling yourself before him.

The Mark Drama is loads of fun. As a disciple, you set the scene with lots of biblical and topical jokes to help the audience feel at home in 1st Century Palestine. But Mark’s gospel is also deeply sombre. The audience – and the actors – are forced to really, really reflect on the crucifixion. We spend most of the drama figuring out who this Jesus guy is, and starting to really love him and realise how much he loves us… only to see him weeping in the garden and hung on a cross for our sins. As a Christian, I know that it was my sin that put him there. The darkness that filled the room as the echo of my screams of ‘crucify him!’ faded into silence… That was a moment when I truly reflected on how undeserving I am of this grace poured out on the cross.

After the drama, I received encouraging comments from young Catholic and non-Christian friends, as well as older Christian friends and family (including my grandpa who is mostly deaf!). They all loved experiencing the ‘realness’ of Jesus and the gospel in the Mark Drama. I have also had many opportunities since to use scenes/verses that I remember from Mark to encourage Christian brothers and sisters and to help non-Christian friends know who the person of Jesus is and what he offers to them – Praise God!

 

Coming up in Queensland!

Since 2014, The Mark Drama has been performed over 60 times across Australia, in NSW, VIC, WA, SA, QLD and Canberra. We’re grateful God has now raised up Andrew Lubbock to head up Mark Drama productions in Queensland.

So if you’re in the sunny state and eager to see what all the fuss is about, here are the details of Brisbane’s very first production of The Mark Drama:

Queensland Theological College (QTC)
369 Boundary Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane QLD 4000
Saturday 21 October 2017  from 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Sunday 22 October 2017  from 2:30pm to 4:00pm

‘Let us go to the next town’

Just as Christ’s priority was to visit the next town in order to preach of his coming Kingdom (Mark 1:35-39), Mark Drama Australia have been eager to preach Christ through The Mark Drama in regional NSW, and to build up resources in other parts of Australia.

We are therefore delighted to announce two upcoming productions of The Mark Drama in regional NSW:

CU University of New England, Armidale
Tuesday July 25th, 7:30-9pm
Wednesday July 26th, 7:30-9pm
at University of New England, Armidale

Orange Evangelical Church
Saturday July 29th, 8-9:30pm
Sunday July 30th, 6:30-8pm
More info at www.oechurch.org.au

New Appointments 

We are also delighted to announce the appointment of three new state co-ordinators:
Andrew Lubbock is our State Director for Queensland.
Rosemary Thorburn is our State Director for Western Australia.
Candice Bergamin is our State Director for Victoria.

If you would like to enquire about productions in your area, please email us through our contact page.

Who is this man?

Picture the scene. Fifteen actors and a two hundred and fifty strong audience. They sit on the edge in anticipation around a circular arena, readying themselves for a night of discovery. A scruffy looking guy in a plain white shirt dunks another guy. Then suddenly, a deep voice announces over the audience, “This is my Son who I love. With him I am well pleased”.

Welcome to Mark Drama – the story of the world’s most interesting man. It’s where 21st Century audiences witness miraculous signs – demons are defeated, the sick are healed, the inquisitive find answers – “Who is this man?”

Suddenly a ratchet girl, unsteady on her feet, stumbles in. All but one cowers away. “Unclean!” they cry. “Unclean!” Ignoring their warnings, the strong One embraces her. Only he is able to cleanse her of this infectious, repugnant leprosy. Everyone is stunned at his ability, asking “Who is this man?”

Suddenly, a storm hits. The rain is heavy. The wind is howling. Somehow, the actors turn on a convincing tempest. Meanwhile, a small fishing boat is flailing under the waves. “Don’t you care if we drown?!!” they cry, shaking the sleeping One awake out of desperation for their lives. His voice commands silence. All is calm.

“Who is this man?”

I sat in the front row during CBS’s recent production of the Mark Drama. It was an unmissable experience. From the calming of the storm, to the feeding of the 5000, this story gripped me like never before.

During the picnic with the 5000 I am mischievously asked if I prefer bread with sesame seeds or not. Then I’m suddenly thrown into a vineyard parable where thugs beat the One at my feet. I then turn at the sound of jeering sarcasm spitting from some hecklers at the back – “As if there’s life after death, Jesus!” But he defies their logic with their own theology – “I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac. I am the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living! You are badly mistaken”.

But when his friend betrays him, I wondered… He’d been so powerful over the demons, so powerful over the waves, so powerful over the dead. But as he’s seized, beaten and dragged before priests, kings, and governors he looks weak and pathetic. A crown of thorns is burrowed into his head as the crowd chant incessantly, thirsty for death. Who is this hated man?

Boom! A nail pierces his hands and feet. The cries of agony echo throughout the room. The space is suddenly overshadowed in darkness. A feeble voice splutters, “Why!?… Why have you forsaken me?”

Avoiding spoilers, this drama asks lots of questions: Who is Jesus? Is there really life after death? Is it true?

At the end of the performance, our main director, Warren Chan, leaps to his feet and asks everyone, “Who is this man?”

If you’ve not seen The Mark Drama, you must. For some, you’ll be challenged to consider who Jesus is. For others, you’ll be filled with thankfulness to God. For others, it’ll simply be an entertaining evening. This isn’t a traditional stage drama. This is a re-enactment of how God came into the world to save sinners.

 

CBS-MDCast and Crew of Mark Drama at New College, UNSW. Picture: Samuel Collis-Bird

Article written by Roydon Ng