Bibliodrama for Europe. Playfully discover and try out biblical texts

Petra Herre | 09.07.2015 | Practice - Articles
Bibliodrama is a form of cultural education with biblical texts. At the same time, Bibliodrama can be assigned to the area of ​​religious education beyond the usual course formats.
In the processes of bibliodrama, the participants discover a biblical text by dealing with it in a playful or visually artistically way. They search and experiment in order to place themselves and their lives in relation to such a text. At the end of this process, participants will become familiar with a biblical text and make it part of themselves. They have been involved in some scenic plays and can imagine designs. They will then decide whether they want to pursue that track.

In any case, they will have had experience as a creatively active member of a group. Moreover, when the time that such an intensive process involves is sufficient, they will have discovered that their body in which these experiences have been stored can also be a resonant space for texts and situations, and that it makes sense to pay attention to their body.

Aesthetic design

More important than the verbal reflection and communication is the aesthetic design involved with the scenic play: the artistic, poetic or musical compositions. There are also compelling approaches that work with photography. In these cases, aesthetic design processes are clarification processes. I need to leave out, change or complete something. This is promoted by accompanying bodywork and sharing with others in small groups or a plenum.

Bibliodrama has been a topic of discussion since the 1970s. Later, this approach was described as an attempt which, at that time, made old-fashioned and cerebral knowledge of the Bible accessible, made bogged-down narrative become fluid, and playfully revived the practice of Bible study through the inclusion of other experiential approaches.

Three branches of bibliodrama can be distinguished: the aesthetic/hermeneutic (which is significantly influenced by theater and art education), the psychodrama and the body-oriented.

In the present, bibliodrama is rather described as an experimental discovery and experimentation practice. The participants devote themselves experimentally for a certain time, with as many parts of themselves as possible, to a space of text and tradition.

As a result, it can appeal to people with very different previous experiences and religious traditions. And the fact that aesthetic design is the essential medium, it is also suitable for groups with different languages.

Bibliodrama for Europe 

This character attracted the interest of European education programs early on. From 2002 to 2004, a common European Bibliodrama Charter was established as part of a Grundtvig Learning Partnership.  More information can be found in the semi-annual publication TEXT RAUM or at www.Bibliodrama-Gesellschaft.de.

A European Bibliodrama Network (EBN) has also been created . In this network, the training of bibliodrama leaders is jointly coordinated and their ideas are exchanged. Above all, this network organises the annual European Bibliodrama Conference.

The bibliodramatists involved in this network ensure that bibliodrama remains a current form of religious education which is good to use in multicultural contexts of a country, or of a city like Berlin. Bibliodrama can especially be a training format, though, in which people of different cultures, religious traditions or languages can come together. Right now, we are gaining experience in a German-Polish-Danish training course. What is still lacking are programs and adult education institutions that incorporate such multi-faceted educational tasks as their own.

Erasmus+ project

The German Society for Bibliodrama (Gesellschaft für Bibliodrama - GfB), together with its Swedish colleagues and with the help of an ERASMUS+- project, is preparing a transnational Bibliodrama Facilitator Education program pursuant to the guidelines of the European Bibliodrama Charter. This will allow participants from countries without such a training program to gain such a qualification. Bibliodramatists also learn and develop methods and strategies to plan and conduct multilingual processes.

This report therefore ends with a request to bring us in contact with churches and educational institutions that might be interested in offering multilingual or multicultural bibliodrama workshops in their area of ​​responsibility. The appeal by the German and Swedish colleagues can be found here (below). We will be happy to inform you about the current state of preparations. During the European Bibliodrama Conference on 26-30 August 2015 in Vilnius/Lithuania, the interested organisations will have the opportunity to discuss the current plans and then to seek European funding.

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Topics/Keywords: Practice => Methodology
Practice => Project
Subjects / Target groups => Religion
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About the author

Petra HerrePetra Herre, M.A., Vicar i.R. is a social scientist, theologian, editor and InfoNet correspondent for Germany.

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