News and Updates

‘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

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

Move over Godspell!

Press Release from Jannali Anglican Church. Originally published in The Leader.

Move over Godspell, make way Jesus Christ Superstar, a new theatre spectacular is in town.

It’s called The Mark Drama and it’s set to wow local audiences next month when The Jannali High School hall is transformed into downtown Nazareth, ancient Jerusalem and the banks of the Sea of Galilee.

It’s an amazing story that played out more than 2,000 years ago but, since then, has inspired countless songs, books, poems, musicals and Hollywood blockbusters.

It’s a story of hope, transformation and salvation. It’s the central story of the Bible.

The Mark Drama is the re-telling of the life of Jesus as told by the gospel writer Mark. Started 16 years ago in Austria, The Mark Drama has been performed in 25 countries to rave reviews and will premiere in the Sutherland Shire on May 7th and 8th.

“It’s brilliant!” says Director Jeanette Waddell. “It’s a raw, amateur, no-frills kind of drama but it really is brilliant. It’s an authentic presentation transporting you in simple ways back to the streets of Nazareth to meet Jesus. You see joy and laughter, anger and hatred, tears and weeping. But most of all, you see Jesus Christ – his generous love of the outcast, his powerful authority over the wind and the waves, his willingness to suffer so that we might be saved.” 

Local performer and lawyer Gareth Martin plays the role of Jesus alongside a cast of fourteen.

“It’s a daunting challenge because Jesus is God,” Mr Martin says. “I want to portray Him as accurately as possible and deliver His message as honestly as I can. I’m hoping people will really engage with the story, especially people who aren’t familiar with the gospel of Mark.”

There are several things that make The Mark Drama unique. The performers haven’t learnt lines. Instead they’ve just learnt the order of events of Mark’s gospel and will deliver them ad-lib. 

Rehearsals begin two days before the performances and it’s all set in-the-round, without traditional costumes or lighting.

“Theatre-in-the-round organises the audience into concentric circles, with a small area in the centre for the main action,” the Director explains. “It’s quite an immersive experience for the audience as the acting also takes place in the aisles and amidst the crowd.”

Jannali Anglican Church has organised two performances to give the community the opportunity to see and experience the story of Jesus differently.

“The original Jesus is far more impressive and relevant than some of the imitations around today,” Jannali Anglican’s Senior Minister Neil Fitzpatrick says.  “The Mark Drama is a creative way of getting behind the religious and cultural impressions of Jesus to the real man who walked and talked as one of us.”  


Booking details:

The Mark Drama will be performed at The Jannali High School Hall. Saturday 7th May, 7:30pm. Sunday 8th May, 6pm. Tickets can be purchased at

For more info: contact Jannali Anglican church on 9528 9130 or via the church website To organise a cast photo: call the producer, Tracey Kirkland 0414 297 541.

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Thoughts from Sydney Uni

We asked some of the acting team from Sydney Uni to share their experiences with The Mark Drama:

Declan joined his non Christian friends for pool one Thursday night and casually told to them that he was in a play called the Mark Drama. They were interested and were very keen to watch him perform. So they came to watch… and were deeply moved by the crucifixion scene. Sitting near the back, they did not know what was the sound of the banging as Jesus was laid down on the ground. When they saw Jesus being raised up on the cross – they understood what the banging was – the nails being driven into the hands of an innocent man. It was scene that made them feel sick. They asked their mutual friend Caroline – “How could a good man be crucified?”. When Caroline offered a copy of the gospel of Luke – they were glad to accept it.

For me, acting in the Mark Drama was one of most the meaningful and worthwhile things I’ve done in a very long time. I was so amazed to see the reaction of the audience during the crucifixion scene. Even friends who don’t follow Jesus came to watch the show were moved by the whole experience. One wanted to read the Bible with me afterwards.
While initially skeptical (and regretting the busyness it added to his busy life), by the end all Adam could say was “just incredible”. Seeing what a powerful medium drama is to tell the gospel, he knew that he had to get his younger brother to come watch it. After much prayer, God answered. On the second night his brother and whole family came to watch. He could see that his brother was deeply moved seeing Jesus on the cross. “What did Jesus’s death mean for you?” asked Adam. His brother said he didn’t know. Adam continues to be prayerful for future opportunities to explain the gospel to his brother.
I found it very helpful to invite my Japanese FOCUS friends to come watch the Mark Drama. Cross cultural ministry is never easy because of language barriers, but I love sharing God’s Word with internationals. After the Mark Drama, I met my Japanese friends to study the account of Jesus healing a paralytic man in the Bible. It was so helpful that they’d seen this scene the night before in the Mark Drama!
Playing Jesus is not easy. So Jack was very apprehensive when he signed up for the role. ‘How can you learn all these lines in such a short amount of time? How can three rehearsals be enough for a 90 minute performance?’ But God works through weak people. Jack was personally edified by playing Jesus. Watching the story from where he stood gave him new insights into Jesus’ life and death. ‘Jesus’s words are always on my mind now. It’s so much easier to recall them when fighting against temptation and sin!’ In all his experience as an actor, he has never been so emotionally affected by any other role. From the shouts of “Hosanna!” to the cries of “Crucify him!”, holding back tears was a difficult task.

Directing The Director’s Drama

We asked Rohan Smith about his experience of directing the Mark Drama for the first time for the Sydney University Evangelical Union:
The 15 cast members gather in the rehearsal space. Most of them are meeting each other for the first time. As names fling around the room, Warren and I match name to face and commit them to memory. Already there is a sense of camaraderie as we embark on this yet to be fully understood project together.
The compact rehearsal schedule meant we had very little time to “break the ice”. The cast had to trust each other and Warren and I as directors, to get straight into it. But the development of confidence in each other and in the material grew exponentially. By the end of the first rehearsal we had spent one quarter of our total time together as a cast, but we were one third through Mark’s gospel and one hundred percent friends.
The newly appointed Peter and his fellow disciples follow my lead as I teach them how to distribute and collect the food for the five thousand. They are cautiously humorous in their lines (“Oh, sorry I forgot you’re gluten free”)  and I encourage it. The Pharisees are also developing their own persona, standing tall with puffed chests, demanding to be heard.
Mark Drama directing is never about me. I helped people immerse themselves into Scripture and gently steered the ship, but the cast made it their own. It was encouraging to see them understand this style of story telling and how it points people to Jesus.
The cast walk together back to the station after the second rehearsal. Some catch the same late train (or track-work bus) as me. We discuss together our favourite scenes, our potential invitees, the challenges and encouragements of being immersed in Mark’s gospel for a week. We are tired, but we are on fire. We’re already seeing the drama’s impact on our own lives, and are excited to see how it impacts the audience. 
It was hard work convincing each cast member to join the team, but these conversations on the train made it worth it. Many thanked me for pushing them to join, because of how Mark Drama had strengthened their faith.
Jesus is hanging on the cross. The final performance is nearly over. Joseph of Arimathea must pause to gather himself before he continues the scene. It’s another one of the many beautiful moments where the actors authentically engage with the events in the drama. After the performance, all the actors gather in a group hug full of smiles and tears, congratulating each other and marvelling at God for the work he has achieved. 
In the end, and in the beginning, God is the ultimate director. We perform His words. We display His glory. We announce His salvation.
Jesus is God’s Son. Listen to Him.

See the Mark Drama this week!

We’ve just had our final performance at St Thomas’s North Sydney this evening. It was a wonderful show! Many noticed the authority of Jesus’ words to command death to flee and life to re-enter. The old, wooden-floored hall had brilliant acoustics. A number marked the weighty silence echoing after the ferocious storm at sea, commenting on how tangibly it conveyed Jesus’ power to calm our fearful hearts.

If you missed the performances at St Thoms, there are four others this week you can see!

Tickets are selling fast so act now!

The Mark Drama at the University of Sydney


Wednesday, Sept 23rd
Thursday, Sept 24th
At Old Teachers’ College Assembly Hall
Doors open at 7pm, 90min performance from 7:30pm
Tickets ($10) and details can be found here.

The Mark Drama at Epping Presbyterian

Mark Drama EPC promo FRONT

Saturday, Sept 26th
Sunday, Sept 27th
Doors open at 7pm, 90min performance from 7:30pm
At Epping Presbyterian Church Hall, 9 Bridge Street, Epping
Free admission.
See website for details.

New Productions for 2015!

Mark Drama Australia are excited to announce that St Thomas’s North Sydney and Epping Presbyterian are organising their own productions of the Mark Drama for 2015. So if you missed out seeing the Mark Drama at Moore College or Gladesville, book these dates into your diary before something else comes up:

St Thomas’s North Sydney: September 19th and 20th

Epping Presbyterian: September 26th and 27th

Another five productions are being planned in various Churches and Christian groups across Sydney and the wider Sydney area. Stay tuned for more information by either liking us on Facebooksubscribing to this blog roll, or asking us to add your email to our regular newsletter.

Theological Dramas

Who is Jesus?The Paradox

Moore Theological College is a paradox. It sits at the head of King St, Newtown – the non-conventional capital of Sydney – and quietly boasts of its own head, the revolutionary Christ who overturned social norms and brought God’s Kingdom to the marginalised. Yet Moore College is not known as alternative. It isn’t swayed by public opinion, and holds firmly to the teachings of Scripture. In the cutting-edge inner-city where alternative is norm, ‘dry’ and ‘out-dated’ seem for some, quite apt descriptors of the school.

It’s a product of our post-Christian society, isn’t it. The question of Jesus appears to have lost its edge. Christians are up against 2000 years of diverse public opinion on the one hand and total apathy on the other. So how does an old, fundamentalist institution arrest people with the truth?

Every Moore College student knows the answer – preach the gospel.

The conviction is not new. But through The Mark Drama, we found a less conventional way to introduce Jesus to the crowds.


A New Teaching? And with Authority?

Our team of fifteen actors had just returned from Moore College Mission – a week spent partnering with local Churches across Sydney and beyond. We’d had a great time telling people the good news of God’s Kingdom, but we were all exhausted. Dragging ourselves to rehearsals that first night, like the disciples returning from their mission (Mark 6:30-31), we just wanted a desolate place where we could rest. No one verbalised it, but you could see it on their faces – ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ ‘I’m stepping into an invisible, imaginary boat?’ ‘You want me to scream a demon-possessed scream?’ The energy was flat, the people sceptical, and only 50 tickets were sold for each night… perhaps the prophet wouldn’t be accepted in this hometown.

Performing The Mark Drama at a theological college was always going to be met with theological concerns and perceptive questions of doctrine. It made sense that Moore was the first seminary in the world to take it on. Matt Smith, student minister at St George’s North, said he had something of an existential crisis in thinking about his casting as Jesus. ‘I thought, Jesus is God – how can I, a sinful human, accurately represent him?’ Leah Gorring, another first year student, was also hesitant. ‘I was concerned about what it would be like to be a Pharisee – persistently critical to Jesus for a whole week!’ Others questioned the paraphrasing and ad-lib nature of the show. ‘Aren’t we adding words to the Bible?’

But despite the questions, by the next rehearsal, the vibe in the room was tangibly changed. Like the energy that erupts after Jesus restores health and ability to the sick, our team had got it. This is a faithful but fun impromptu articulation of Scripture. We read the passage, we allocate the parts, and then we act it out. Peter Bolt, who produced this world debut, simply calls it ‘another translation’. As the head of New Testament and Greek at Moore College, Bolty answered our questions. ‘It’s a return to the first century oral society. Before Mark’s gospel was written it was spoken, relayed from one living person to another. Quiet, personal reading of Scripture’, explained Bolt, ‘is a relatively modern, Western approach. What we’re doing is taking all the events of Mark’s gospel and re-embodying them into our colloquial language.’


By the time Rehearsal Two rested for morning tea, the acting team was invigorated. They could see the potential they had to faithfully communicate Jesus to the crowd.

And we were thankful God was bringing a crowd. Tickets for the opening night had completely sold-out online – 198 people – and Thursday night was quickly filling up also! We weren’t even sure we’d fit them all in the room!!

But we did. We put out extra chairs, sold more tickets at the door, and assured those eager to come that there’d be space. I had last minute emails, Facebook messages, phone calls from strangers, asking, hoping, begging to hear Jesus’ teaching.

And they didn’t leave unimpressed:

  • ‘That was so much better than I expected! And funnier too!’
  • ‘I teared up really early in the play as I saw Jesus effortlessly cast out demons and heal the sick.’
  • ‘I felt again the seriousness of sin as Jesus pointed out all the evil that comes out from the depths of our hearts.’
  • ‘I was baptised last December and haven’t read much of the Bible yet. I didn’t realise how all the stories I’d heard in the gospels linked together into a longer narrative.’

Across the two nights, over 440 people witnessed The Mark Drama, and 60 copies of Mark’s gospel were taken. It was an easy invitation to extend, and was readily taken up by many non-Christian friends and family.

A visitor invited his agnostic brother along – ‘He has always sort to shut down and avoid conversation about Jesus, but he agreed to come to this… After the show and a few conversations with friends, he asked me to get him a Bible so he could investigate the claims of Jesus himself! I was overjoyed!’

The drama wasn’t just beneficial evangelistically, the cast also noted the ongoing effect of their involvement. ‘It reminded me of the blindness and ugliness of sin’, Leah said, after surviving her role as Pharisee. ‘Throughout The Mark Drama, you see Jesus doing all these wonderful things and yet instead of rejoicing, the Pharisees become more and more angry. But I was struck by how Jesus is in control. He allows himself to be arrested and crucified. And it was all for the sake of people like me who were yelling, ‘Crucify!’

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Despite Moore’s conventional nature, everyone is now hoping The Mark Drama will become an annual event, continuing to run in conjunction with Peter Bolt’s NT1 course that teaches Mark’s gospel.

The Mark Drama is a wonderful translation of Scripture. People can come and sit under the gospel and allow its power to work upon them. As a college we decided to do this because we believe the gospel actually is powerful. In bringing people to knowledge of who Jesus is, we relied not on impressive apologetics, not on fancy words, just the words given by God in Scripture and the promise that his words have Authority.

Written by Christine Bransdon and Jeanette Waddell

MDA Launch

In 2014, Andrew Page visited Australia for the first time, bringing with him the much-acclaimed Mark Drama. With performances in Annandale, Macquarie Uni, Melbourne, and Adelaide, Mark Drama Australia (MDA) was launched.

MDA are excited to see productions being organised for 2015 – at Moore Theological College, at Gladesville Anglican Church, the Blue Mountains, and again in Adelaide.

With half a dozen directors currently trained in both Sydney and Adelaide, MDA are itching to get out and flex their directing muscles. So if you are interested in hosting a production, please check out the information here or contact us for more information.