"Theatre is a rehearsal for the transformation of self and society."


Dr. Rue is available for consultancies and workshops to colleges, seminaries and religious congregations.
Dr. Rue’s book: Acting Religious: Theatre as Pedagogy in Religious Studies
was published in 2005 by Pilgrim Press.

Left to right: The first four photos are from: Sarah/Hagar Workshop, Universidad Biblica Latinoamerica, Sept. '07
5th: Biblical Drama Workshop, Graduate Theological Union,Berkeley '05
6th Photo: Embodying God Workshop, Hawaii, Nov. '07
Theatre as Pedagogy in Religious Studies & Theology

This workshop introduces teachers of religious studies and theology to the use of theatre as a pedagogical tool. While speech exercises and improvisation have been helpful for M.Div. students in preaching classes, the pedagogies of theatre have been largely under utilized both in theology and religious studies. Theatre and its techniques offer students methods to engage material by embodying it. While conventional teaching stresses analysis and critical thinking by lecture and class discussion, enactment offers somatic learning. Participants will explore specific techniques (i.e. theatre games, improvisations, writing exercises) to encourage students’ creative engagement with class content.

The first 2-3 hour workshop introduces teachers to theatre techniques. The second workshop (2-3 hours) focuses on how theatre can open up the experience of theology and/or religions. The third workshop (2-3 hours) addresses the use of particular theatre techniques in enacting specific issues in the syllabi of participants.

Learning Goals:
• To provide teachers with theatre skills that can be utilized in the teaching of religious studies such as characterization, improvisation, monologue writing.
• To understand and appreciate the value of somatic learning.
• To understand and be able to apply enactment as an evaluative tool in assessing a student's grasp of the course material.
• To assist teachers in encountering feelings such as discomfort and fear in utilizing these new methods of learning

Biblical Drama Workshop: Feminist Theology Overturns the Texts
All of us, in one way or another, have grown up with and been influenced by the stories of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Christian Bible (New Testament), complex stories that form the basis for Judaism and Christianity. Sometimes our contemporary experiences of these stories have been hurtful and oppressive to women, people of color, and gay and lesbian people.

In this series of workshops, we will look at the Biblical story of Sarah and Hagar in Jewish, Christian and Muslim Feminist theology. Challenging scholarship has recently overturned traditional interpretations of this text. Additional workshops are available such as the story of Lot (especially Lot’s wife), and from the Christian Bible the Hemorrhaging Woman.

Working with these ancient mythical stories and contemporary scholarship, we meet the text and see it deeply. Theatre allows us to embody the story and identify with it.

Using theatre techniques we also re-imagine, re-interpret, and re-write the texts as contemporary experiences. As a last step with each story, we enact the texts we have created. Enactment is fully experienced knowledge.

Participants are welcomed with little or no knowledge of Biblical literature. The most important prerequisite is curiosity!

Learning Goals:
• To gain knowledge of a biblical text and its various scholarly interpretations
• To experience enactment as embodied knowledge
• To come to a personal identification with a biblical story and its characters
• To experience group learning as community building

Soul Search: Drama as a Spiritual Journey
At the turn of the century, a great actress Elinor Duse said, acting is “allowing myself to become a crystal tube and the universe flows through me.” Her approach articulates the mysticism of acting. Each of us is a complex web of colors, attributes, capabilities and identities. The mystical journey of creating a character requires each person to meet her/his many selves as well as embodying “the other.” The spirituality of acting creates relationship between self and others. The mysticism of acting unites self and character. The dance between self/others and self/character offers self-reflection and important insights into what it means to be human in this world of ours.

Participants experience the creation of a character. Monologs and scenes are assigned from plays. A rich and challenging theatre process ensues of embodied exploration of self, text and character. The workshop culminates in participants enacting their work before an invited audience.

The workshop is available in shortened form (3 hours) or over the course of one week.

Learning Goals:
• To experience enactment as embodied knowledge
• To come to a personal identification with a character
• To experience group learning as community building
• To gain self knowledge and a visceral understanding of the connectivity of life