The Dramatic Arts are an example of how different art forms are used in tandem to communicate a message. Biblical drama is a rich and accessible way to communicate the Gospel. There is a longstanding historical precedent for community based Biblical drama such as Passion or mystery plays. The history of Passion Plays and other contemporary examples can also be explored via The Passion Trust website or York Mystery . For more, see Essential Information for Teachers.
This unit focuses on
- what inspires Christians to use different art forms to communicate the Gospel
- what text and role models are there in the bible for creative communication of the Gospel, including those of Jesus.
Wintershall’s outdoor production ‘The Life of Christ’ is a contemporary example of Biblical dramatic art and artwork being used by Christians to communicate the Gospel. A portfolio of rich source material from this production is integrated within this unit as engaging evidence for use in making this enquiry.
Source material includes:
- interviews with the script writer, producer and volunteer cast members
- interviews with professional actors specialising in Biblical drama
- feedback from audience members including teachers and pupils
- stunning photos of the backstage aspects of the production
- photographs from different Gospel scenes in the production
The Wintershall source material used in this unit is explored within the TEXT, IMPACT and CONNECTIONS approach derived from the Understanding Christianity resource.
By the end of this unit, pupils are expected to:
- TEXT make links between biblical texts about creativity, making and using artwork the concept of Gospel, and it’s communication.
- IMPACT links between the accounts of God creating the earth, the Holy spirit inspiring Bezalel the craftsman in building the temple of Solomon and ways in which some Christians interpret biblical texts through drama and sculpture, showing awareness of different interpretations
- CONNECTIONS Make links between ideas about being inspired to use creativity to communicate the Gospel and the impact it can have on people in the world today, expressing some of their own ideas clearly
- CONNECTIONS Weigh up how biblical ideas, teachings or beliefs relate to issues, problems and opportunities in their own lives and world today., developing insights of their own. For example, identify different ways that people receive the Gospel message through the arts, are impacted by it and respond to it
KNOWLEDGE BUILDING BLOCKS
PUPILS WILL KNOW THAT:
- Christians try to understand God better and communicate this by trying to describe God using symbols, similes, metaphors, in song, story, poetry and art
- Christians believe Jesus’ teachings make people think hard about how to live and show them the right way.
- Christians believe that Jesus’ life shows what it means to love God (his Father) and love your neighbour.
- Christians believe that they should bring this good news to life in the world in different ways, within their church family, in their personal lives, with family, with their neighbours, in the local, national and global community
Key concepts and skills that can be covered using this material within any Key Stage include:
- why the arts are used to communicate the Gospel;
- how faith can inspire art and be reflected through different art forms;
- evaluating interpretations of Bible texts in relation to the creation
- the use of the dramatic arts and visual art;
- considering the impact of selected contemporary examples of art forms being used to communicate the Gospel;
- applying knowledge and understanding by using the arts as a way to communicate a Gospel-related message.
Considerations For the Teacher
Although children are more visually literate because of the impact of digital media, for many, their experience of the Arts beyond participating in, as well as watching, school plays, enjoying occasional visits to the cinema, theatre or art gallery, is predominantly consumerist. This means that they remain largely disconnected from the creative process and motivations of the artist behind it. For example, they might see paintings in a book, on television, or watch a film but rarely know anything about the context, production process or purpose that it was originally intended for.
The focus of this unit ‘Why do Christians communicate the gospel through the Arts’ demands exploration of the powerful connections there are between what inspires and motivates people to create works of art, their choice of media, techniques.
Take care that pupils understand that Christians believe that Jesus is alive today and related reasons inspire many Christians to communicate the Gospel. Consolidate knowledge and understanding with reference to learning within the God, People of God, Incarnation, Salvation and Kingdom of God units across the key stages.