The Development of Parabalos.
Drama has long been used in Christian Worship as a means of communication, dating back many centuries. Over the years this seems to have focussed more on portrayal of biblical events than their spiritual application. A very notable feature has been the production of nativity plays. In more recent decades the concept of teaching spiritual principles through drama has been revived to some extent. Against that background, Parabalos has been established to further the use of Christian drama as a communication medium.
Parabalos commenced in 2010 from a base of 5 founder members to its current level of about 12 who participate at varying levels. Most have some amateur experience in the world of drama and while not professional, excellence is our goal. The membership comes from varying denominational backgrounds and the pieces we produce are Christian based themes.
Parabalos – The Name?
The name Parabalos is the Greek word for parables (allow for very slight licence on the spelling). In Jesus time the culture in Jewish circles was to teach through the medium of parables – and there are about 3,500 on record as having been used by the Pharisees of the time. Of course, Jesus also taught through this medium. So our dramas are taking a similar approach of using everyday situations to apply biblical principles.
The material, so far, has been written almost exclusively by ourselves. All are based on a scripture passage which is read and applied into a modern life situation. We have performed in different environments (link to Portfolio page) covering Sunday Mass, Morning worship, services of Christian unity, workshops and drama festivals. The latter has proved very suitable as a cross community event. The venues to date as well as the pieces performed are listed in the attached on our References page.
Where from here?
The project has followed a slow but consistent development model and while we have the following objectives, they will not all be possible immediately, especially given the fact that all of the current participants have families, careers etc. which keep them busy. Geographical limitations also arise. However, subject to that, we hope to develop a ministry to help promote the use of drama as a communication method and offer ourselves as a resource to
- Perform pieces in church services or events – ideally including people from those churches.
- Promote cross community drama events on a Church Drama Festival model, which has proven successful and welcomed in areas where there cross community events already take place.
- Encourage those who have an interest in this type of drama
- Conduct workshops, developing both actors and directors at local church level
My Personal background
I am retired from business and while having been interested in drama, I had never acted in or directed drama. I have always had involvement in church activity. For a number of years during the 90’s I helped run a children’s club and one of the activities which developed there was writing and directing short biblical dramas for use in church services. From there I realized the power of drama as a communication tool. In 2008 I was encouraged by a friend to go back and write a few pieces which I did. Then, living in Bray, I researched the opportunity to develop a drama group in association with a wide variety of churches in Bray and discovered that at least some would welcome such a development.
For the record, not that it matters a whole lot, I am now a visually impaired (quite blind) person but can write pieces, direct and produce, albeit very amateur! My key contribution has been to develop the vision and some key objectives.
At that point I met the curate priest in Bray who had been an actor before entering the priesthood and have since developed a close association with him. From that base we began developing a group with objectives based on the document ‘Introduction to church drama’. We performed our first piece (based on Psalm 23) in October 2010 in Holy Redeemer, Bray and subsequently in other local churches and from there the group has developed. Feedback to date has been good.
This is the Greek word for parables. In Jesus time the culture in Jewish circles was to teach through the medium of parables – and there are about 3,000 on record as having been used by the Pharisees of the time. Of Course, Jesus also taught through this medium. So our dramas are taking a similar approach of using everyday situations to apply biblical principles.
Composition of Parabalos
Starting from a base of 5 people, the group consists of about 15 for the festival with various levels of involvement, some just once and others being more involved. Many have good amateur experience. While not professional, we do strive towards excellence.
- Encourage church leaders to use drama as a means of communication – occasionally.
- Encourage church members to get involved in such projects and develop cross- denominational activity.
- Gain spiritual insight from the pieces being performed, at personal level.