Church and Stage is a guide for people in churches who want to employ theater in ministry, and for theater people who want to create opportunities to work in churches. The points of contact between religion and theater are numerous, and Dean J. Seal offers guidelines for making the connection work no matter what level of experience or financial commitment a congregation brings to the task. The author, who has worked in the worlds of both church and stage, provides background on the historical and theological relationship between religion and theater. He then offers practical advice and guidelines for the use of theater in the context of ministry—from discussion groups to bibliodrama to play-going to ultimately producing a show. This book is a resource for ministers, lay leaders, youth groups, and members of the theater community who desire greater integration of faith and work.
This is an admirable handbook. . . . 'I really like this book. Theatre grew out of the womb of the church, was nurtured in its ceremonies, and then the two grew apart. . . . A useful how-to handbook about the how, and especially the why.' * Lectionary Homiletics * Dean J. Seal begins Church & Stage by stating clearly who his audience is: 'It is for theatre people who want to work more in churches, and it is for people in churches who want to employ theater in ministry.' For such folk this is an admirable handbook. -- Paul Nicholas Mason * Catholic New Times * I recommend Church & Stage as the first basic resource for churches to use when they are considering adding a theatre arts ministry. Dean J. Seal offers practical suggestions from his own experience both as a theatre professional and as someone who has written and directed drama for churches. I use Church & Stage as a textbook for teaching courses on theatre and the arts at United Theological Seminary, but it is a very readable and accessible book for lay people, clergy, and theater professionals. As he covers an overview of the history of theater and the church, offers theological and spiritual insights into the connections between the arts and the church, and offers practical ideas and suggestions for churches and performance groups, his style is always readable and accessible to people without a background in theater or religion. His chapter on producing theater is worth buying the book alone, but he also adds historical and theological grounding, a handy bibliography, and two scripts with humor and profound revelation. -- The Reverend Theresa Mason, Theatre Arts I really like this book. Theater grew out of the womb of the church, was nurtured in its ceremonies, and then the two grew apart. People who are interested in reconciliation, between the church and the theater community, or from church to church, or from church to the unchurched, will find Church & Stage to be a useful how-to handbook about the how, and especially the why. -- Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard University; author of The Future of Faith Dean Seal has written a book that gives people of all backgrounds the necessary tools to begin a Theater Ministry program in their Church. Dean will ground you in the historical connection of Church and Stage, practical 'how to' methods in starting and growing your Theater Ministry program, and finally, original material you can successfully produce for worship. It's all right here. -- Mary Woolever Shaffer, director of theater ministries, Lake Harriet United Methodist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota