The heads of CHC’s Drama Ministry share their experiences.
Contributed by Annabelle Low
Headed by Sandy Yeo and Jaslynn Khoo, who each have more than 10 years of experience in City Harvest Church productions, the City Harvest Church Drama Ministry was officially formed seven years ago with the aim of supporting drama productions in church and to train up a professional, core group of actors. The Drama Ministry puts up at least four productions annually: Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
“People often have this misconception that church dramas are of a very low standard,” said Khoo. “We want to show them that church dramas can be excellent, and comparable to professional theatre.”
“I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words,” added Yeo. “People are able to watch and identify with the characters on stage.”
At the “Drama Production For Your Church” elective session held during the CGI-Asia Conference 2010, Yeo and Khoo shared some elements for a successful church drama production, accompanied by a live demonstration by a group of actors.
A successful production must have a good script, actors who can act, the unexpected “wow” factor, and most important of all, the anointing of God so that the audience’s hearts will be moved. In order to build up this anointing, the drama team prays and fasts for the drama, as well as builds up relationships among members.
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The process from page to stage begins with the brainstorming. The drama team must consider how to stay true to the gospel message while putting forth a fresh angle and perspective. It is imperative to work with a good team that can generate innovative ideas. These ideas can be drawn from watching other church performances, secular television shows, professional musicals and films.
After the script is written, the search for actors, make-up artists, music, lighting and stage designers, can proceed. When looking for new recruits, Yeo and Khoo emphasized that drama ministry does not promote talent, but attitude and character. The new recruit must love to serve and be able to put aside his ego to receive constructive criticism. In the weeks that lead up to the day of the actual performance, rehearsals and tech runs are held in the actual performance venue.
For churches with drama ministries that are just starting out, the directors advised that the budget should not pose a constraint. Instead, take it as an opportunity to invest into the actors and the story. It is useful to get secular professionals from the theatre industry to train the budding actors. Above all, the drama team head must constantly ask God for His wisdom and guidance in staging a production.
After the session, Jan Sutanjati, 43, the Creative Director of GBI-PRJ, Indonesia, remarked, “Listening to Sandy and Jaslynn, I realized how important it is to have a good team, and to cultivate your talents slowly. I’ve learned more about the process, from pre-production right up to the actual performance itself.”
The “Drama Production For Your Church” elective will run Thursday and Friday from 2.30 p.m.-3.30 p.m. and 4.00 p.m.- 5.00 p.m. at Meeting Rooms 7, 8 & 9 at Singapore Expo Foyer 1.
Catch the CHC drama team at work! The Asia Conference Drama will be staged on Sunday, May 30 2010, during plenary session 13, and will be broadcast live over the Internet at chc.org.sg.