Ten Plays +: Short, easy dramas for churches
By Rosalie Sugrue
Revised & Expanded 2021
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New content in the 2021 edition
The new title Ten Plays + reflects that there are now 14 plays in this collection.
- How Lay Preaching Began — A dialogue between John Wesley and his mother Susanna Wesley. John is upset that Thomas Maxwell, a layperson, has preached at The Foundery without his permission. It also includes notes about Susanna’s later years, The Foundery and Lay Preachers.
- Go and Tell — The Woman of Samaria meets other village women at the well and explains how her meeting with Jesus has changed her life. She also regains the friendship of these women who had previously shunned her.
- A new Advent Prayer
- Story Telling in Church gives readers suggestions for easy and simple ways to add drama to Bible stories in church.
About the 2018 revised and expanded edition
Some of these plays have been revised to provide clearer instructions for staging them and to simplify or improve the dialogue.
ANZAC Day has been re-written.
A second version of Mahlah & Sisters – The Daughters of Zelophehad – has been added. It is the same story told in less words and is suitable for devotions at fellowships, house groups and youth groups.
A second version of A Christmas Story has also been provided, with 9 separate pages of 9 separate scripts for 9 people.
The typesetting of the book has also been updated. Māori words now have macrons where needed.
To help you stage these plays, the publisher is happy to provide a free PDF eBook edition of Ten Plays to anyone who has purchased a print copy. See the details of this offer below.
As featured on Maren Tirabassi’s Gifts in Open Hands blog.
Praise for Ten Plays
Review by John Meredith in Touchstone – November 2014
“The pattern of Sunday worship is generally fairly predictable, but congregations appreciate something different at family services and especially at Advent and Christmas.
This is scarcely surprising, since the birth of Jesus and the events leading to it shattered the expectations even of those who had long been watching and waiting for the appearance of the Messiah. We have become accustomed to nativity plays featuring grumpy innkeepers and shepherd boys on hillsides, but these 10 plays take us to quite a different realm.
After making suggestions about an Advent wreath and candles, Rosalie offers five meditations that may be used during the four Sundays in Advent, two meditations being read on one of these Sundays. The meditations titled ‘Christmas women’, are the voices of Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin), Anne (Mary’s mother), a woman traveller (one of many women on her way to Bethlehem for the census), the inn-keeper’s wife, and Anna (the prophetess).
These meditations are complemented with an Advent prayer for two voices. There are no bland words here, for the challenge is to think about what the coming of Jesus means for us in our world and what we need to do about it.
These Advent meditations are followed by a play titled ‘No Room,’ designed to promote the work of Christian World Service at a time when the annual CWS Christmas Appeal will be presented to many congregations. The play features two modern day families who learn that making room for Jesus includes making room for asylum seekers and that giving to CWS can help make lives better for people living in dreadful conditions.
There is also a play using 13 characters from the Christmas story with an activity of creating stick-puppets.
For Easter, the other major festival of the Christian Year, there is a play reading based on five women named in the Easter story.
Those looking for something different for Bible Sunday, Waitangi Day, Anzac Day or Wesley Day will also find it here.
One of the appealing features of this collection is the prominence of women throughout. The drama ‘Mahlah and Sisters’ draws attention to five little-known young women in the biblical narrative. Their stand for justice translates effectively to women’s rights and equal opportunities in today’s society.
In another play, voices of women from biblical times and early New Zealand history who used their initiative to build peace and harmony are heard in monologue.
As is stated on the cover, these are short easy dramas. Few props, staging or costumes are required.
Most of the plays work best with a combination of adults and children and lend themselves to reading without the need to learn scripts. All are readily adaptable for different physical settings and availability of characters.
They are highly commended as a resource for any church or group seeking imaginative ways of presenting gospel ideas and aspects of faith in action. Ten Plays is also available as an ebook.”
Endorsement by Andrew Gamman – Refresh Ministry, Methodist Mission Resourcing
“This collection of dramas by Rosalie Sugrue will be welcomed by church leaders. At a time when the church is struggling to fully engage people, she has provided us an extra resource for those special seasons and occasions that will add interest to worship services as well as to other church events. The relevant themes and easy scripts have the ability to involve people of all ages and stages. Rosalie’s ready-made dramas have already had wide acceptance for their appropriateness to the New Zealand context and their ability to easily capture the imagination of those in our congregations.”
Summary of the Plays
Lay preacher Rosalie Sugrue’s 14 short plays and meditations are ideal to present in church. They encourage us to engage with Bible and historical characters and explore important themes. Staging is simple. Few props or costumes are required. Unless marked [Adults] these play readings are suitable for children to present. Most work best with a combination of children and adults.
This revised and expanded 2021 edition includes two new plays: How Lay Preaching Began & Go and Tell, a new Advent Prayer and a new section Story Telling in Church with tips about dramatizing Bible readings and other stories.
The plays are:
- Mary Jones’ Walk: Relive the story of the 15-year-old Welsh girl who walked 25 miles in search of a Bible and helped inspire the founding of Bible Society.
- When The Treaty came to Mangungu: An historic event told from the perspective of Rev John Hobbs’ 11-year-old daughter Emma.
- Easter Women [Adults]: Listen in on five women who may have shared a room on that Saturday night so long ago: Mary of Nazareth – the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene alias Mary of Bethany, the ‘other’ Mary, Joanna and Salome.
- ANZAC Day: Two children learn more about their family connection with World War One. Suitable for presenting in church when reflecting on war.
- The Wesley Saga: A rhyming romp through the family history of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, sons John and Charles and their sisters.
- [New] How Lay Preaching Began: A dialogue between John Wesley and his mother Susanna Wesley. John is upset that Thomas Maxwell, a layperson, has preached at The Foundery without his permission. It also includes notes about Susanna’s later years, The Foundery and Lay Preachers.
- [New] Go and Tell: The Woman of Samaria meets other village women at the well and explains how her meeting with Jesus has changed her life. She also regains the friendship of these women who had previously shunned her.
- A Peace Presentation [Adults]: Monologues of two women from the scrolls of Hebrew Scriptures and two from the pages of New Zealand history. Ordinary women who by wit and will were each peace achievers.
- Mahlah & Sisters: A justice issue Bible story for any time of year. Five capable daughters successfully lobby for women to be able to own land.
- Mahlah & Sisters (B) – The Daughters of Zelophehad: The same story told in less words. For devotions at fellowships, house groups and youth groups.
- Christmas Women [Adults]: Multiple uses during Advent. Five meditations of women sharing their encounters with Mary for use in advent worship: Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin) talks with Anna; Anne (Mary’s mother); Woman Traveller; Inn-keeper’s Wife; Anna (the prophetess).
- No Room: Makes a thought-provoking link between refugees arriving by boat at Christmas Island and Mary & Joseph finding no room at the inn.
- A Christmas Story: 13 stick puppets. Theme: God is with us.
- A Christmas Story (B): a second version of A Christmas Story with 9 separate pages of 9 separate scripts for 9 people
About the Author
Rosalie Reynolds Sugrue is a fifth generation West Coaster. Both her parents being fourth generation Coasters whose forebears came seeking gold. Rosalie’s great grandfather, James Reynolds, was a local preacher from Cornwall who preached to miners on the beaches and helped establish the first Methodist church in Hokitika. His wife, Eliza, signed the petition that gave women the vote.
Rosalie’s mother Elva Reynolds was a Methodist Deacon and also a lay preacher. Rosalie is a past president of the NZ Lay Preachers’ Association, and the inaugural facilitator of the Methodist Lay Preachers Network 2004, serving as a co-facilitator until 2008. She has led hundreds of church services in New Zealand and the UK. She has also led rest home services, family services, cafe style worship, house blessings and devotions in many other situations.
A wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and author now retired Rosalie has worked as a psychiatric nurse, teacher and motellier.
She has been active in Jaycees, the Methodist Women’s Fellowship, the Community of Women and Men in Church and Society, National Council of Women, the Churches’ Agency on Social Issues, Victim Support and U3A.
She continues an active role as a lay preacher leading one to three services every month in a variety of churches.
Rosalie Sugrue’s books available from us:
Rediscover these characters as spirited, wise women of passion and compassion. This easy-to-use book has strong feminist imagery and references focused on women of the Bible. Updated and expanded, it now provides reflections on Tamar, Dinah, Naomi, Michal, Vashti, Jephthah’s Daughter, Lenna Button, Susanna Wesley and Ann Turner to use in church during the sermon slot. Includes prayers & dialogues. Click to order Print or eBooks.
Do you want to learn how to preach and lead worship, but don’t know where to start? This practical guide by experienced Methodist Lay Preacher Rosalie Sugrue will get you going.
Theme Scheme: Creative Ideas, Activities, Games, Puzzles, Quizzes
(Revised and expanded July 2018)
Theme Scheme offers you a wealth of creative ideas, activities, games, puzzles and quizzes to help plan, organise and lead your group’s programmes. All are fun and practical, requiring minimal equipment, resources and time to prepare. Click to order Print or eBooks.
Ten Plays + : Short, easy dramas for churches
(Revised and expanded January 2021)
Lay preacher Rosalie Sugrue’s short plays and meditations are ideal to present in church. They encourage us to engage with Bible and historical characters, and explore important themes. Staging is simple. Few props or costumes are required.
Sarai, a Biblical Studies lecturer, learns a terrible truth; a core knowledge she must impart to a successor. Will she choose society wife, Jen, or bondage and discipline prostitute Kat? The lives of these two women collide in unexpected ways around Sarai, while in the wings lurk a coven of Wiccan witches, and the dark desires and dealings that threaten Jen’s husband, Wilkin. An explosive novel with a dramatic climax. Click to order eBooks.
Journey with Molly Sinclair through her 1950s childhood on the West Coast, her move to Christchurch for teacher training, drama-filled OE in the UK and Europe, and as she returns to New Zealand in the mid-1960s. This engaging coming-of-age tale sweeps us along as she meets unexpected joys and overcomes life’s setbacks.
Free group Study Guide available.
Green, Ho! is an extended version of Greens and Greys that adds another dimension in the form of hidden disability.
Free group Study Guide available.