Participants of the Finding God in Drama retreat taking part in a session.

Participants who attended a retreat fusing both prayer and drama said they experienced personal healing and a greater sense of their God-given identity.

“The retreat experience was like God’s light shining in the deepest parts of me, bringing out those parts which have been hidden in the shadows of myself, allowing me to see them through the eyes of God’s mercy,” said
Ms Lucy Tjhia from the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour,

Playing different Bible-related characters during the June 9-11 retreat was also a powerful journey of discovery for the nine participants. “Standing in another person’s shoes, I discovered myself,” said Ms Mary-Rose See from the Church of St Ignatius.

The retreat titled Finding God in Drama saw participants using drama and prayer to unpack the ultimate question of identity: Who am I?

It was led by Mr Keith Neubronner and Mr Anthony Siow and held at Kingsmead Centre, Victoria Park Road.

Mr Neubronner has completed a course in Applied Christian Theatre in Birmingham, England, which encompassed aspects such as evangelisation through the performing arts and the use of drama as prayer. Mr Siow is a trained spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition.

The retreat saw participants praying with the scripture passage on The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

Mr Neubronner eased them into “pray-acting” with drama exercises that helped them get in touch with their emotions and express them. Sessions began with participants simply walking around the room to help them loosen up and heighten their senses.

They were then gradually led to walk according to a particular character or an emotion, and made aware of how their bodies responded to these.

Participants reflected on how others saw them by examining relationships.

They were also challenged to contemplate the backstory of The Prodigal Son, essentially filling in the blanks between Luke 15:11 and Luke 15:12. This was an invitation to examine the possible relationships that existed – between the father and his two sons, between the two brothers, and between the family and the servants in the household.

Participants were given the choice to play a character they felt drawn to, or to have one assigned to them.

They also pray-acted the actual scripture passage of The Prodigal Son, but without words, which heightened the emotional impact and power of the passage.

“Acting without words was more powerful,” said Ms See.

Participants were then led into a prayer experience to see themselves the way God sees them – as God’s beloved.

Many gave the retreat the thumbs-up.

“I found God and myself,” said Ms Stella Amanda, 26, from the Church of St Mary of the Angels.

Another participant, Ms Jocelyn Seow noted how “drama brings out real expressions and draws us closer to God”.

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