News and Updates

The Mark Drama in Melbourne!

The Mark Drama returns to Victoria next week as a team from the University of Melbourne puts on two performances.

Last year, the Mark Drama was performed across Melbourne and Geelong. We asked some of the actors from these productions to share their thoughts about how the productions went:

‘The Mark Drama helped me view Jesus more as a real-life person… I’ll always remember the scene when Pilate is asking what Jesus has done wrong, only to have everyone shout back to crucify Jesus. Knowing that Jesus was perfect but seeing the hatred in others which caused his death was really confronting. And Jesus willingly endured it! He was punished unjustly and he could have avoided it, but stayed because of his love and compassion for us, for me… Afterwards a young woman approached me to say how it made the story seem more real to her too!’

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‘Two friends of mine said they left loving Jesus more… They left all the more hyped up to tell people about Jesus!’

“I got to talk to people about the Mark Drama to my friends who came for weeks afterwards! People were so impacted by it and I thank God!’

Melbourne  friends, make sure you don’t miss out!

Performance times:
Tuesday 16/04/19 7:00pm
Wednesday 17/04/19 7:00pm

Location:
Junior Common Room, Queen’s College, College Crescent, Parkville

Tickets:
$10, book now to ensure a seat!

Easter performances in Sydney and Wollongong

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‘Don’t be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here!’ – Mark 16:6

‘There are plenty of Mark Drama productions happening all around the country this Easter. The following list are happening in Sydney and the Illawarra. If you’re curious to see the drama, want a different way to celebrate Easter or want to use the Mark Drama to introduce a friend along to Jesus, then take your pick from the following:

Campbelltown Anglican Churches

Performance times:
Saturday 13/04/19 7:30pm
Sunday 14/04/19 6:30pm

Location:
St Peter’s Church, Cordeaux Street, Campbelltown

Tickets:
Free but book now to avoid disappointment!

University of Wollongong (Uni Bible Group)

Performance times:
Wednesday 17/04/19 7:30pm
Thursday
18/04/19 6:00pm

Location:
Room G01, Building 24, University of Wollongong (near main carpark P2)

Tickets:
$5: book now to save a seat!

Barneys, Ultimo (St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway)

Performance times:
Friday 26/04/19 7:30pm
Saturday 27
/04/19 6:00pm

Location:
Barneys Church, Ultimo

Tickets:
Gold coin donation, but book ahead

 

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!

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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!