Theatre company to perform at worship symposium

Northwestern College theatre’s touring company will perform Old Testament stories, scripted verbatim from the Bible, at the Calvin Symposium on Worship in Grand Rapids, Mich., Jan. 28–30.

The symposium is hosted by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; its theme is “The Great Stories: Narratives of the Old Testament.”

During the symposium, theologians—including Dr. Richard Mouw, a 1959 alumnus of Northwestern who is president of Fuller Theological Seminary—will preach on six Old Testament stories. Northwestern theatre students will enact five of the stories: Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1–16), Moses and Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:1–10; Hebrews 11:1–3, 23–28), Eli and Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1–21), David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), and Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:17–39).

The students’ performances will be accompanied by a workshop presentation, “Speaking and Acting the Bible,” by Northwestern theatre professor Jeff Barker and Dr. Tom Boogaart, professor at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Mich.

A scholar of the ancient Hebrew language and biblical literature, Boogaart has argued that early portions of the Bible include narratives intended to be presented as plays. Boogaart and Barker have been collaborating on scripting and performing stories from the Old Testament since 2002.

In addition to dramas for worship, Barker has also created two musicals scripted verbatim from scripture: “And God Said” and “Terror Texts,” which received nationwide publicity in 2008.