Monday, May 20, 2013

Tessa Afshar is one of the faculty at the first New England Christian Writers Retreat this October at Singing Hills in New Hampshire. Meet her one-on-one and sign up to have her critique up to five pages of your work at

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Exploring the Boundaries of Applied Theater

By Dr. Dale Savidge, executive director of Christians in Theatre Arts
The exciting and emerging field of applied theatre offers organizations and individuals with training, experience and passion for theatre to expand their theatrical practices in the service of people (groups and individuals) in their communities. 
“Exploring the Boundaries of Applied Theatre”      
June 28-30, 2013
@ Re-Create Cafe at the Salvation Army
800 McCallie Avenue

Chattanooga TN

The wide variety of applied theatre techniques can only be introduced in this brief weekend we will spend together; but the overview will point to specific directions for the participants to explore through future training. We will survey the field and then focus our time on two specific forms of applied theatre which are in wide use around the world, and which have many applications in marginalized communities: Playback Theatre and Forum Theatre.

We will also explore the Playback Cafe. This is an applied theatre program in South Carolina aimed at building community and bringing healing to homeless people, people in recovery programs and people who are victims of abuse. It utilizes some techniques from Playback Theatre as well as other AT methods. We will learn some of the rituals of Playback, practice them together and explore how the Café model might be useful in reaching at risk groups in the community.


Thursday, June 27, 2013
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Introduction to the field of applied theatre with special reference to marginalized groups. We will engage in a variety of theatre games as a means of surfacing the central concern(s) of our group. Then we will begin practicing applied theatre methods in order to listen to each other and begin to find ways forward together. During this evening participants will experience the power of AT in their lives and they will also gain valuable instruction (and practice) in these techniques.

Friday, June 28, 2013
9:00 am – Noon

Introduction to Playback Theatre. We don’t just tell stories – we are stories. In this session we’ll practice listening and seeing each other, so that we can tune into the stories we need to tell each other. The first part will be a series of AT exercises designed to break us out of our mechanized response to our environment; the second part will be practicing the short forms of Playback. This session will demonstrate techniques which address the challenges people face from inside themselves.

Noon: conversations over lunch

1 pm – 4 pm

Performing in a Playback Café Part I. We will practice the rituals of Playback theatre and apply them to creating an atmosphere of openness to the stories of the marginalized and at-risk in our communities. As we experience the healing value of telling and seeing our stories reenacted, we will also learn how to create a theatrical atmosphere which invites disadvantaged people into our Café to create community with us and with each other. We’ll explore the Playback short forms in this afternoon session.

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Performing in a Playback Café Part II. In this evening session we’ll practice the rituals used in long-form Playback theatre.

Saturday, June 29, 2013
9:00 am – Noon

Introduction to Forum Theatre. We will learn the ways we can work with existing groups of people (groups which are bound together by a shared external oppression: homelessness, poverty, discrimination, cultural marginalization, etc) and expose, identify, name and grapple with the challenges which are holding them back. The first part of this session will be utilizing various Image theater methods to embody and express oppression; the second part will be developing a Forum scene. This session will demonstrate techniques which address the challenges people face from outside themselves or their communities.

Noon: conversations over lunch

1 pm – 4 pm

Performing a Forum Theatre scene. In this final session together we will perform our forum scene and invite our weekend community to try out solutions to our shared problems.

4-4:30 pm

Wrap up, questions and applications for the future.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fun Things to See and Do With the Kids This Summer in NYC -- Part One

Discovery Times Square


SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure will capture your imagination and take you on an incredible voyage from the glory days of pirates to modern-day shipwrecks!

Journey to bottom of the ocean and beyond to uncover the sea's best-kept secrets and greatest treasures. Dig for treasure with a real robotic arm and experience what high-speed, storm winds feel like on the open sea with the hurricane wind tunnel.

Featuring over 500 authentic artifacts, including real gold and silver treasures, the exhibit demonstrates modern-day science and technology used thousands of feet below the ocean's surface. Click here to purchase tickets.

Opens June 16--
The Art of the Brick
Tickets Now On Sale!

Taking LEGO® bricks from child's toy to sophisticated art form and beyond!
Artist Nathan Sawaya and Discovery Times Square are bringing the exhibition CNN named 'One of the Top Ten Global Must-See Exhibitions' to New York City this June - doubling its size and introducing never-before-seen masterpieces!
THE ART OF THE BRICK, an exhibition by artist Nathan Sawaya, is a critically acclaimed collection of intriguing and inspiring works of art made exclusively from one of the most recognizable toys in the world — LEGO® bricks. The Discovery Times Square exhibit will be the world's biggest and most elaborate display of LEGO® art ever and will feature brand-new, pieces by Sawaya. Don't miss the show CNN named 'One of the Top Ten Global Must-See Exhibitions' coming to Times Square on June 14th!
226 West 44th Street (between 7th and 8th avenues) New York, NY 10036 866.987.9692

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Rising Above That Which Seeks To Destroy Us

Photo source:
Post written by Peter G. James Sinclair
It is so easy to concentrate on the flaws that lie within one’s own humanity. Especially when there are those surrounding you who make it their occupation to make certain that we are very aware of those flaws. But we must remember that there is not one of us who is flawless. And as Jesus said, that before you go picking the speck out of your brother’s eye make certain you have pulled the log out of your own eye.
We Must Forgive
So firstly we need to forgive the ones who accuse us in Jesus’ Name and we need to bless our enemies. Oh how we have wanted to curse them. Oh how we have wanted to hit back. But we are commanded to love them. So love them we will.
‘Lord forgive us for wrongful thoughts and harsh reactions. We choose to walk in forgiveness even in the midst of the storms and the accusations.’
We Must Concentrate
We must never concentrate on what we think others are thinking about us, because in most cases they are not. That is a lie from the enemy. All we need to do is to concentrate on what the Lord is thinking of us as His child. And He sees us through the eyes of our Saviour, and all He sees is flawless – not by might nor by power but by His Spirit. It is through His grace that we are seen that way. No matter what mistakes we make He loves us. No matter what cracks appear He loves us. No matter the ups and downs of life He loves us. He loves us. He loves you. He loves me.
We Must Be Empowered
So to be loved is to be empowered. It is to be believed in. It is to be cherished. It is to feel the support of another. And in times of ill health and in times of trials it embeds a backbone within this at times spineless self so that we can continue to get up again and again and again. To love again. To breathe again. To rise again, as if from the very depths of death. Out of the ashes a new person is born to face another day.
It Is Not Finished Until…
And where others see us as finished there arises a new sense of destiny within us. And where once we were written off and even discarded to the side there is a fresh vision planted and a renewed energy restored to go yet again.
Critics will always come. But at the end of history – when all the notes are gathered up and compiled – only the great deeds done and obstacles overcome will be spoken of. The criticisms will dissipate into dust. And yet the mighty deeds done by those they claimed to be flawed will be carved into the stones of time for all to see and to marvel, pouring forth praise to the Author of those great deeds, shouting, ‘Many are the great things God has done!’

Reprinted with permission from My Balck Piano
Peter G. James Sinclair is the international best selling author of a number of highly acclaimed motivational books including ‘Good Things Don’t Come To Those Who Wait’. The title of this book summarizes his philosophy, which he carries over and into all his business ventures. Thousands of individuals, all around the world, subscribe to Peter’s Motivational Memo that is written to inspire individuals to be the best they can possibly become. With more than twenty years business experience in the fields of domestic and commercial cleaning, publishing, musical theatre, web design, personal development and property development – he has also entered the hair salon industry. Oh, and by the way, he writes world class musicals as well.

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."



Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Subscribe to This Feed