How to Put On A Play

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Occasionally, I will hear from people who are asking how to put on a play. Sometimes people find themselves in a situation in their church or school where they are expected to direct or organize a big program or a play of some kind. I decided it was time for me share some of the things I have picked up or learned over the years in a booklet.

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Description

This is broken down in a few chapters:
-How to find the Christian play that’s right for your church or school
-How to hold an audition
-How to cast your play
-How to do your rehearsals
-How to write your own script
-How to do sets, props, costumes and makeup
-How to do your lights and sound

The first chapter is here for your viewing. I am not an expert in every area of theatrical productions, but I have worked with people in all of these areas and I hopefully can steer you in the right direction to get you started on your way. Remember, it takes a team… don’t try to do this all by yourself. You may have the talent and ability to pull it off, but you could be robbing someone else’s joy of being a part of this wonderful ministry that is Christian drama.

“Find the Christian Play that’s Right for Your Church or School”

As you begin your search for the best Christian play, think about a few things to help you in your journey.
1. Don’t purchase the first thing you see. You can spend a lot of money on church dramas and then not be happy with the results. Take a little time and look over a lot of scripts and read the information about them. Sometimes, an excerpt is available to read that will give you an idea of the play’s content. Contact the seller/author and find out if there is a “read only” copy of the script that you can get.
2. Think about who your actors are going to be. Especially if you attend a small church, you may be limited in your cast. Look at the casting needs of a script before you purchase it. The cast may be too large, and you would not be able to find enough people to cover all the parts. Do you know that you will have someone to play your leads? You might want to call an interest meeting and find out who really wants to be a part of this. Once you have your group, then you can look for a script that matches your situation.
3. Make sure the script is the proper length. How long do you want your program to last? An hour? An hour and a half? Are you going to use music? Remember that each song will add an additional 3-5 minutes. If the information about the script does not give a clear indication as to the length, you may want to contact the seller/author and ask questions.
4. How much editing do you want to do? Find out if you can add or subtract from the script. Quite often, authors of Christian scripts will allow you to make changes to the script. Perhaps you need to change the gender of a character, or add another character because someone’s little sister suddenly wants a part. Find out if you can get permission from the author to make changes. This can help you determine if that script is going to work for you or not.
5. What kind of message to you want to convey? Is this an evangelical outreach? Do you want the gospel clearly shared in your play? You may have to ask questions about these things before making your decision. Sometimes, you just want to entertain your audience and not preach at them. Perhaps your pastor is going to speak at the end, and you don’t need a strong message during the play. Find out what the message in the play is. If you’re looking for a holiday script, you may want to make sure that you get a Christian Christmas play, that actually shares the true meaning of Christmas. Perhaps this is going to be a dinner theater, and you want something fun and lighthearted for your audience.
6. What are all the costs involved? Do you have to pay for every single script? Are you allowed to make copies? Is there a fee for each performance? Are there royalty fees, like a percentage of the box office? Sometimes your limited budget can help you determine if this is the right script for you. You may have to buy things for your set and costumes, so you might not want to spend your entire budget on the script.
7. Is God speaking to your heart? I recommend praying as you begin your search and see if the Lord speaks to your heart or your spirit about a particular play. Be sensitive to His leading and see if He doesn’t direct you to the right script to meet your needs. Perhaps you may want to have a script custom written that would fit you perfectly.

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