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C: Christmas; Co: Collection; E: Easter; G: General; S: Short; St: Study Course; 1A: One-Act; FL: Full-Length; Y: includes parts for Young People.

Price is in Green

Performing fee is in Blue

Categories are in Red

Dana Bagshaw Cell Talk (2002) £7 £15 G, 1A
Roy Chatfield Waiting for the King (2013) £7 £15 E, 1A
Keith Clements Time to Sing (2009) £7 £15 C, 1A,Y
John Coutts Jesus in the Broom Cupboard? (2021) £7 £15 G,1A
Nickie Cox (ed) Plague & Pandemic (2020) £7 None Co, S, G
Reconciliation/Remembrance (2018) £10 None Co, S,G
Mark Allen Eaton Pilate (2019) £7 £15 E, 1A
Les Ellison Are the Kings Still Wearing Curtains? (2000) £7 £15 C, 1A,Y
An Easter Carol (2011) £7 £15 E, 1A
First Easter (2004) £7 £15 E, 1A
He’s Not Here (2009) £7 £15 E, 1A
Red Star (2004) £7 £15 G, 1A
Sorrowful Mysteries (2012) £7 £15 E, 1A
Special Delivery (2008) £7 £15 C, 1A
The Summoning of Everyman (2016) £7 £10 G, E,1A
Ellison, Lark, Warburton Sacred Spaces (2014) £7 £15 Co, 1A, G
Margaret Franks Three Wise Fools (2005) £7 £15 C, 1A
Kate Griffin Cuthbert and Hilda (2001) £5 £5 G, S
No Flowers for Ally (2001) £7 £15 G, 1A
One Step More (2004) £7 £15 G, 1A
I, Said the Sparrow (2005) £10 £25 G, FL
Michael Hendy Iscariot (2002) £7 £15 G, E, 1A
Ken Hornsby I See a Star (2007) £7 £15 C,1A, Y
Margaret Hunt The Witnesses: Clive Sansom’s verse monologues (2006, study) £10 None St
Brenda Jackson Green Branches: Collection of poems (2004) £7 £15 Co, E
Seven before Easter (2003) £10 £25 Co, E, FL
David Kerby-Kendall The Listeners (2021) £7 £15 1A, G
Sean Lang Brother Man (2014) £10 £25 G, FL, E, Y
The Last Act in the Story – Mysteries for the Modern Age (2015) £10 £25 G, E, FL
Mike Lees The Stranger Within (2013) £10 £25 G, FL
Andrew Liddell Zero to Hero (2006) £7 £15 Co, G, S, Y
McGregor, Cox The Davidson Affair (2015) £7 £15 E, 1A
Julie Sharp Face to Face (2011) £10 £25 FL, Y
Richard Tydeman Christmas through the Window (2005) £5 £5 C, S
Mike Umbers Trial by Night (2004) £7 £15 E, 1A
Rex Walford The Man Born to be King: Dorothy L Sayers’s Life of Christ (study, 2009) £10 None St
Nick Warburton Witness (2011) £10 £25 G, FL
Christmas Diaries (2013) £5 £5 C, S
Easter Diaries (2013) £5 £5 E, S
Psalm (2017) £7 £15 G, 1A
Borderland (2021) £7 £15 E, 1A,G
“If Power Change Purpose”: Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure (study, 2011) £10 None St
Francis Wright Birthday in Bethlehem(2019) £7 £15 C, 1A,Y

Dana Bagshaw

Cell Talk (2002/2016)                                                                  

Set in the early fifteenth century, a time of political and religious unrest, this one-act play focuses on the meetings between Margery Kempe and the mystic Julian of Norwich who wrote Revelations of Divine Love. Kempe was a restless and troubled soul who travelled widely including a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In contrast, Julian spent her later years as an anchoress living in a cell attached to a church in Norwich, dependent upon the local people to bring her food and water. These two very different characters, ‘one rooted woman and one wandering woman’, delight in their meetings as they talk about life, love and God. Both funny and profound, this play was joint winner of a Radius Plays Competition. It has a cast of 2 women and lasts about 1 hour.

Roy Chatfield                 

Waiting for the King (2013)                                            

This one-act play features six characters, Sergeant, Governor, Citizen, Apostle, Informant and Priest who wait in the ante-room to the Seat of Judgment. Their attempts to justify their actions, both to themselves and to the others, cause friction and aggression, and we gradually realise that these modern characters are playing the roles that sent Jesus to his death. An interesting and sometimes humorous exploration of people’s reactions when faced with difficult decisions. With a modern, simple setting it lasts about 50 minutes. The cast of 7 could be either male or female.

Keith Clements                   

Time to Sing (2009)                                               

This one-act play begins in Heaven where a young angelic choir rehearses for an important event which is soon to take place on earth. As they speculate what this event could be the choir are dismayed to learn that their audience will be ‘a few flea-ridden shepherds’. However, the true significance of their singing is gradually made apparent. A fun one-act play which would be ideal for a mixed cast of all ages. The cast consists of 10 small parts for adults plus 3 young people, who must be able to sing. There are also non-speaking singers who could be any age.

John Coutts

Jesus in the Broom Cupboard? (2021)

The ‘Help and Hope Mission’ has developed a range of programmes ministering to the homeless and to victims of addiction. Some of these receive financial support from the local Council. Now the Mission has come under fire from  ‘Secular Sanity’, an organisation which claims that the Mission is ‘fundamentalist, homophobic and patriarchal’, and calls on the Council to withdraw all funding. The play explores important issues, including whether the church should continue to accept funding from the state and if there can be compromise without sacrifice of principle, but provides no easy answers. Lasting about an hour with a cast of 5, 2w 3m.

Mark Allen Eaton                          

Pilate (2019)                                                                             

When Pilate gets his dreamt-of promotion to be governor of Judea he persuades Claudia to marry him and the couple are plunged into a situation where their precarious personal relationship echoes the national instability.  As the emperor Tiberius warns, “Your resources will be limited, your friends far away.  The tetrarchs don’t want you there any more than the terrorists.” Claudia becomes a disciple of Jesus and after the Crucifixion the risen Christ appears to Pilate.  A past winner of the Christians in Theatre Arts playwriting competition, this one-act script moves fluidly between the ancient and modern worlds and is easy to stage. 18 speaking parts can be taken by 3m, 2w, 5 either.


Les Ellison is a playwright based in the north-west of England. Several of his plays have been toured by Riding Lights, most recently in 2016, and Radius has commissioned Easter and Christmas scripts for our collection. Les specialises in flexible drama that can be performed by either men or women and where the scenes can be used in different combinations.  

Are the Kings Still Wearing Curtains? (2000)                          

A witty and unusual take on the Nativity play, this series of scenes shows what might happen if adults who are veterans of past productions try to hand on their costumes and give advice to a new cast of young people. Age gives way to youth; traditional costumes are replaced by modern equivalents but, above all, fresh insight is found by those taking up the challenge to retell the story to a new generation. There are parts for players of every age. This flexible script lasts just under an hour when performed in its entirety, or some of the 10 scenes could form a series of playlets around which a church or school carol concert can be easily and effectively constructed.

 An Easter Carol (2011)                                         

Three students of the Magi, following clues discovered at a house clearance, travel independently to Bethlehem, Galilee and Jerusalem looking for what their tutors sought 33 years ago. It is only when they finally meet up at Golgotha and hear about Jesus’s death that they are able to piece together the whole story.  One-act, 13 characters but with doubling up it can be performed by a cast of eight.

(New version of original play of 1996 commissioned by Radius)

First Easter (2004)                                                              

This play is made up of seven modern, lively and theologically engaging scenes which feature some of non-biblical characters involved in the events before and after the Crucifixion. Underneath the humour of these pieces lies a serious discussion of the meaning of what happened in Holy Week. The whole script lasts about 40 minutes but various combinations of the scenes can be used. All the scenes with the exception of the final piece have a cast of 2.  The following is a brief description of each of the scenes:         

The Watchers

Three friends settle down to watch the film King of Kings. While tucking into TV snacks, they discuss whether Jesus knew what the outcome of his crucifixion would be.

The Deceivers

An agent who is seeking to take Jesus on as his client pays one of the disciples to help him with a secret plan to bring Jesus into the limelight.

The Caterers

It is Passover, and Hannah and her husband are busy serving a special party for guests who have booked their upstairs room.

The Lawyers

The trial of Jesus is over and the Lawyer for the Defence accuses the Prosecution Lawyer of being a willing participant in a flagrant miscarriage of justice.

The Day Trippers

Two tourists in Jerusalem watch, from a distance, what they presume to be street theatre and are shocked by the violent nature of what they see.

The Soldiers

Calvary: a Corporal and a Private build a cross and wonder whether the latest “Messiah” who is about to be executed might be genuine.

The Gardeners

Whilst eating their sandwiches, two gardeners ruminate about life and death with their friend the gravedigger.

The Watchers (again)

The film is over and the friends discuss whether the “happy ending” is believable.

He’s Not Here (2009)                                             

Written for a promenade performance, these nine short dramas are set in the hours immediately after the key events of the Easter story. The audience is led from location to location in the role of travellers following Jesus into Jerusalem, to Gethsemane, Golgotha and on to the empty tomb. At each location they experience the impact of Jesus’s words and actions and hear the words: ‘He’s not here’. Finally, as they arrive at the empty tomb, the question is asked: if Jesus is not here, then where can he be found? Both entertaining and profound. 

 Specially commissioned by Radius, this play is written for a small, mixed cast with doubling, or a larger cast without. Each short play can be performed on its own, as part of a selection or within the complete one-act play. With flexible casting the whole script runs for about an hour.

Red Star (2004)                                                                        

Joint winner of the 2004 Radius play competition, Red Star charts the rise and demise of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space and the first truly international superstar. Gagarin’s desperate attempt to regain control as he is forced to be a passenger in his own life’s story is an examination of the phenomena of fame and celebrity which is relevant to our present times and would provide an interesting and informative starting-point for discussion. A fifty minute, one-act play for a mixed cast of 9 actors which, with doubling up, could be performed by three men and four women. With minimal props and costume it would be ideal for entry in a one-act play competition or festival.

 Sorrowful Mysteries (2012)                                             

A dramatic interpretation of the Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, the play explores the themes of pain, loss, anger, remorse and guilt as exemplified by some of the main protagonists in the Passion story. Mary, Judas, Pilate, Barabbas and Simon of Cyrene each struggle to come to terms with their role and involvement in the events. The scenes are followed by a meditative linking passage. Lasting about 45 minutes, the setting is modern and easy to stage with a cast of 10: 5 men, 4 women and a young girl/ boy. There are also 2 Readers.

Special Delivery (2008)                                                    

Commissioned by Radius, this sequence of eleven short modern dramas takes the ingredients of a traditional nativity story but sets them in a world ruled by darkness, where the voice of God is no longer heard and where his messenger searches for those few still open to receive it: a young mum-to-be, her fiancé, rustic shepherds, intellectual stargazers and practical hoteliers. They must all be given the message in a form that makes sense to them. But the forces of darkness are watching, and waiting for their moment to destroy the messenger and his message and keep the world in darkness. Powerful but with plenty of moments of lightness and wit, this would be ideal for those groups looking for something different and unusual. The scenes make up a complete play, but each scene serves as a play in itself and so one or two could be used in a carol service or concert. There are 18 characters but most of these only appear in one scene so doubling is possible. Flexible casting.

 The Summoning of Everyman (2016)                                  

Everyman, a successful business man and fitness freak, is visited by Death who informs him that he must die that day and, in order to avoid damnation, he must find someone who will speak on his behalf. Despite efforts to canvas his business partners, friends and relatives, he discovers that only Good Deeds is able to do this. The dialogue is modern, but the figure of Death speaks in rhyme. Lasting about an hour, Everyman can be performed throughout the year, but speeches at the beginning and end relate the action to the Passiontide narratives and so make it very suitable for Easter. With only minor changes to the text and, where necessary, to the name of the role, each of the eleven characters can be played by a male or a female actor. With doubling, they can be played by as few as six actors.  Commissioned by Radius

Ellison, Lark, Warburton

Sacred Spaces (2014)        

Sacred Spaces is a volume of nine short dramas each of which stands on its own, but performed together they add up to a one-act play which provides a sequence of lively snapshots in the life of a church community during the course of a year. Six core characters can be played by men or women: the number of players required for the plays varies between one and six. Easy to stage, each short play is suitable for a particular season in the Church’s year. They last between three and fifteen minutes and the whole sequence lasts around an hour. A brief description of each play follows:

Birthday by James Lark

Pentecost: an unwelcome guest disrupts preparations for a party to celebrate a Church’s Centenary and raises questions as to who should be welcomed. Cast of 6. 10 minutes.

Waiting Room by Les Ellison

Advent: During discussions about a proposed new Church building it becomes apparent that there are different ways of waiting to know God’s will. Cast of 2. Duration: 3 minutes.

Christmas Spirit by Les Ellison

Diverse opinions are expressed about how best to get over the message of Christmas at the Carol Service. Cast of 4. 4 minutes.

 Promise by Nick Warburton

A number of work-related problems are brought to the Leader of the Church who realises that there are no easy answers. Cast of 2. 3 minutes.

 Cake Thursday by James Lark

Lent: A bizarre conversation leaves the Leader confused as to the general perception of how Lent should be observed. Cast of 2. 4 minutes.

 Mothering Sunday by Les Ellison

Three generations, grandmother, mother and daughter come to understand and accept each other and also to welcome a same-sex couple into their extended family. Cast of 3 women and 2 men. 15 minutes.

 Easter Hymn by James Lark

An unconventional take on the preparations for Easter Day as parishioners voice their opinions on what kind of music should be used. Cast of 5. 7 minutes.

 A Matter of Balance by Nick Warburton

Harvest: Two members of a Church are at odds over what constitutes a proper offering at Harvest. Cast of 2.  4 minutes.

 Memorial by Nick Warburton

Remembrance: Discussions are under way about the cleaning and restoration of the war memorial and whether names of deserters should be removed. One member of the committee is strangely silent until, at last, he speaks out. Cast: 1 man, 3 either. 5 minutes.

Margaret Franks

Three Wise Fools (2005)                                                  

Subtitled ‘A Fantasy on the Nativity’, this one-act play asks the question ‘Were the Wise Men really so wise? Or could they have been status-conscious dignitaries whose astronomy was, at best, shaky, and whose philosophies had failed them?’  With references to T.S. Eliot’s poem ‘The Journey of the Magi’, this witty and thoughtful play can be performed at either Christmas or Epiphany.

In addition to the Wise Men, the cast includes The Recording Angel, who could be either male or female. Also featured is a group of noisy and rumbustious shepherds, providing an excellent opportunity to include some young people alongside the adult actors.  Large cast of 7+.


Kate Griffin is a Yorkshire-based playwright. Many of her plays have been premiered by the Wakefield Diocesan Drama Group, and she has also had a number of professional commissions to create community dramas. Her community play, Of Truth Be Told, was commissioned to mark the re-ordering of Wakefield Cathedral in 2014.

Cuthbert and Hilda (2001)                                               

The two 7th Century Celtic saints are depicted in modern dress, with newspaper and knitting, talking ruefully and candidly about the qualities and incidents that elevated them to sainthood. Earthy, amusing and profound. This short play, lasting about 20 minutes, has a cast of two, one man and one woman.

 No Flowers for Ally (2001)                                                

In this one-act play, a young man, Ally, confined to a wheelchair after a car accident, is wheeled into a church by his friend Max who was responsible for the accident. Both are traumatised and embittered by the experience and this is initially expressed through casual cruelty to Nancy, a blind old woman who is doing the church flowers. But this chance encounter and ensuing conversation changes both Ally and Nancy’s lives. The cast consists of an elderly woman and two young men. 

One Step More (2004)                                                       

This script was commissioned for the Richard of Chichester anniversary and was premiered at the Cathedral. During a pilgrimage to Chichester, family tensions boil over. Gradually, as the issues are resolved, it is recognised that the pilgrimage is not as important as the journey of reconciliation that has taken place.  Lasting about 45 minutes, it has a small cast of 2 men and 2 women.

I, Said the Sparrow (2005)                                    

Commissioned for Radius’s 75th anniversary, this full-length play tackles important and difficult subjects as a young woman has to choose between ordination and her female lover: a decision not made any easier by the presence of her eccentric family who have gathered to celebrate her forthcoming ordination. A complex play, it offers no straightforward solution and would make an excellent starting point for discussion. Cast of 2 men, 5 women.

Michael Hendy                               

Iscariot (2002)                                                       

This one-act play questions the historic view of Judas as someone who willingly and knowingly betrayed Jesus. Joint winner of a Radius Play Competition, it was first performed in 2002. Judas is brought to trial in a modern courtroom which is set in limbo, outside the temporal world. Did Jesus know Judas would betray him? Did eyewitnesses lie about Judas’s role? Is he a victim of history? Was Judas preordained to play the role of traitor? If so, can he blamed, let alone condemned? Lasting 1 hour, there is a cast of four men and two women although one of the male parts could be played by a woman.

Ken Hornsby                         

I See a Star (2007)                                                           

An adaptation of the author’s book House of Bread, this play tells the Nativity story with a fresh perspective and unusual characters, combining background history with religion and providing cause for thought about how and why the events developed. It would suit a variety of school, church and youth groups. Lasting about an hour, the play has been written with children in mind so there are a large number of small fun character parts but it could also be performed by adults or a mixed age group.


Brenda Jackson, who died in 2015, worked in the Radius Library as a young woman between 1954 and 1961, and left Radius to become an administrator in the drama department of Bristol University. The plays she wrote for her church drama group combine detailed historical research with psychological insight.  

Green Branches: Collection of poems (2004)                          

This is not a play but a sequence of seven dramatic poems. The first five are the recollections and reactions of witnesses to the events of Holy Week, with the sixth being a dialogue between the biblical Lady Joanna and her husband. The final poem imagines the thoughts of someone who contemplates the medieval Ascension stained glass window in Fairford Church, Gloucestershire.  These unusual and lovely pieces would be ideal for inclusion in services during Lent.

Seven before Easter (2003)                                                          

In this full-length play of seven scenes, Caiaphas, Martha, Pilate, Herodias and a Woman of Jerusalem, The Centurion, Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalen are questioned about their experiences in Holy Week. Originally written for performance in church on the seven Sundays of Lent, Passiontide and Easter, each scene lasts about 15-20 minutes and could be performed as part of a sequence or individually. Modern and requiring very simple staging, the scenes would be a good basis for discussion. 4 men, 4 women and 1 either.

David Kerby-Kendall                   

The Listeners (2021)                                                           

“Is there anybody there?” are the first words of The Listeners, echoing the poem of the same name by Walter de la Mare. Five people are in a timeless but earthbound after-death space, and the Traveller arrives to help them take the next step. Frances, a retired headteacher, hates the modern world, Bobbie is a young woman who was cast off by her parents, Billy a promising young man who fell on hard times, Chris is lost in regrets, and Sara was an MP with ambitions to change the world. At the end all except one of them are ready to move on.  One-act. 3 men, 3 women, with some fluidity possible.


Sean Lang is a Cambridge-based playwright whose historical dramas, particularly those set in World War I, have won numerous festival awards. He is also the author of the highly informative reference book World War I for Dummies. Sean’s plays for Radius show a keen sense of historical context, whether based on the gospels or re-imagining the mysteries for our own times.   

Brother Man (2014)                                                                     

This play explores the relationship between Jesus and his brother James. The action travels between the childhood of Jesus and a period twenty years later, during the Passion Week in Jerusalem. It chronicles the boys’ rivalry which, on James’s part, continues into adulthood, and how finally James comes to accept Jesus as the Son of God. The dialogue is fast-paced, modern and down to earth. There is a cast of ten: three young teenagers (2 boys, 1 girl) plus 4 men and 3 women. Stage directions and period-specific references have been kept to a minimum to allow as much freedom as possible to the director. The play, which lasts about 75 minutes, can be performed in period costume or in modern dress.

The Last Act in the Story – Mysteries for the Modern Age (2015)                 

A series of well-known Mystery Plays that have been re-written for a modern audience. There are 10 titles: Prologue, Lucifer, The Fall, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, The Annunciation, Herod, The Woman Taken in Adultery, The Temptation and The Crucifixion. They can be presented singly, in selection or as a whole with minimal staging required. The plays are written with a mixture of verse and prose, the former an echo of the original medieval pieces, but the language is up-to-date throughout, reflecting the ideas and attitudes of the twenty-first century. The plays vary in length but the whole piece lasts about one hour 45 minutes. They can be presented at any time of the year but would be particularly suitable for Christmas and Eastertide. Casts variable and flexible.

Mike Lees

The Stranger Within (2013)                                                           

This full length play chronicles the tragedy that befell the Christian Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915 when a decision was taken by the government to round up all the Armenians living in Turkey and deport them. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in the process. This event is the background to a love story between a Turkish soldier and a young Armenian woman. Although the events described happened over 100 years ago, the play is relevant to our own times as Christians in many parts of the world are attacked, tortured and hounded out of their homes. The play has a cast of 3 men and 3 women, and is simple to stage.

Andrew Liddell        

Zero to Hero (2006)                                                          

Each of these four short plays tells the story of an important figure in the history of Christianity. They were written for 11-12 year olds but could be performed by older age groups and in some cases require older actors. “Pillar to Post” chronicles St Paul’s conversion and his subsequent travels. “The Shamrock”, “Trust a Bear” and “Kissing the Leper” relate important events in the lives of St Patrick, St Columban and St Francis.  Apart from the main characters, there are endless opportunities for non-speaking roles. Lively and easy to present, the plays are ideal for school or youth groups. Varied casts and running times but most of the plays last about 15 – 20 minutes.

McGregor, Cox

The Davidson Affair (2015)                                                           

A version of Stuart Jackman’s well-known novel, the action of this script, which lasts about an hour, has been transposed to the modern-day office of the Rome Herald newspaper with Cass Tennel now the chief investigative journalist. Tennel investigates rumours of the Resurrection and interviews representatives of the political and religious hierarchy as well as followers of Davidson, and the play chronicles Cass’s journey from professional objectivity to agnostic enquiry.

There is a cast of 10 main characters, plus three other very small parts. The main parts consist of five men and one woman plus four which could be either. This is a strong and engaging play, easy to stage and offering interesting acting roles for both men and women.

Julie Sharp

Face to Face (2011)                                                                       

A witty and unusual modern take on the story of The Prodigal Son where the Son leaves his Garden home with its joyous and loving extended family for the cynical, grasping and amoral inhabitants of the City. Most of the characters inhabiting the Garden could be played by younger members of a group, while the decadent and suave citizens of the City, who appear as masked aristocrats, would probably be best suited for more adult actors.  A full length play, lasting about 75 minutes, with 21 named parts which could be performed by a group of about 12.

Richard Tydeman     

Christmas through the Window (2005)                                       

Eli and Keziah live opposite the Inn in Bethlehem. Keziah spends a lot of time at the front window, reporting the comings and goings to Eli who is more concerned with reading his newspaper and dozing by the fire. Keziah gets drawn into helping with the birth of the baby and later instals the young family in her own home before they are forced to leave for Egypt. Well-written and quietly amusing, this play is short, lasting about 20 minutes, has a cast of two and is easy to stage.  

Mike Umbers                      

Trial by Night (2004)                                                                    

As darkness descends, the Sanhedrin, led by Caiaphas, gathers to engineer Jesus’s conviction with the help of Judas. The only voice of dissent is from Joseph of Arimathea.  There follows a meeting between Pilate and Caiaphas who engage in a battle of wits to gain the upper hand. Pilate is torn between the influence of his high-ranking, strong-willed wife and the politics of the situation, but finally gives in to the plotters. A well-structured and engaging script, lasting about 50 minutes. Easy to stage, it has a cast of 6 men, 1 woman and 3 either.


Nick Warburton is a Cambridge-based scriptwriter for BBC radio and television. His credits include On Mardle Fen and The Archers, as well as the gospel-based plays he has adapted for Radius. In 2012 he wrote the Easter radio series The People’s Passion, set in a fictional cathedral. Nick’s plays have won a number of awards, including the Sandford St Martin premier award for radio in 2009.

Witness (2011)                                                        

A stage version of the award-winning series of radio plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Witness chronicles the story of Jesus as told by St Luke. The first half deals with the ministry in Galilee and the journey to Jerusalem. The second half concentrates on Holy Week. A full-length play with a modern setting, it has a large cast, but many of the roles can be doubled and some can be played as either male or female. It is possible to present individual scenes or play the two halves of the play separately; the second half for is particularly suitable for performance at Easter.                                  

Christmas Diaries (2013)                                                                         

A collection of five short monologues originally broadcast on Radio 4 Extra over Christmas 2012 and subtitled ‘Meetings with Strangers’. The characters featured are Mary, Joseph, a Shepherd, a Lawyer and a Traveller. The monologues are easily adapted for stage and church performance and can be presented as a single performance or as individual pieces.

Easter Diaries (2013)                                                                    

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra over Easter 2012, this is a collection of seven short monologues spoken by The Man in the Temple, the Disciples John and Peter, Herod Antipas, Mary, The Thief’s Sister and Mary Magdalene. Like the Christmas Diaries, the monologues are flexible. They can be adapted for stage or church use and could be presented as a single performance or as individual pieces.

Psalm (2017)                                                                                  

A prisoner is told he can escape execution if he is able to read out the words of a psalm. But he has never learned to read. Will the nun Judith, who lost her own brother to the same harsh medieval law, decide to help him? First heard on BBC Radio Four, this moving play has implications for the relationship between church and state, both then and now. 2 men, 1 woman, 55 minutes. Minimal staging.

Borderland  (2021)                                                                          

Borderland explores the hopes and fears of people inside a medieval cathedral on one particular day. All the characters have reasons for frustration: Robert has set up a community choir, but will it breach traditional standards? Tomas wants to perform a small personal ritual for his dead father, but is it allowed? Ellen feels powerless to help her daughter who is suffering domestic violence. Clive the Vice-Dean finds it difficult to see beyond the rules and regulations, especially when a pointless act of vandalism breaks the calm. The action takes place in the light of a passing comment that “This is a space between God and the people. Between heaven and earth. A borderland. Where we approach God. And God listens to us.”  6 men, 3 women, fluidity possible in most cases.

Francis Wright               

Birthday in Bethlehem(2019)                                           
This exuberant retelling of the Nativity story in a style reminiscent of the Medieval Mysteries features a very young Mary and a much older Joseph, with a plain-talking Angel Gabriel who startles everyone whenever he swoops in to announce the birth. A Narrator keeps the story moving, while Caesar Augustus is a gloriously over-the-top tyrant. Some of the dialogue is conducted in the words of well-known Christmas carols, including “While Shepherds Watched”, and the script could be extended by the introduction of carols and stage business involving flocks of sheep and animals in the stable. There are 8 speaking roles (1w, 3m, 4 who could be either), two non-speaking animals, plus any number of extras. The basic script consists of one act, but with the addition of carols could be extended.  Suitable for young people or a mixed-age cast.


“If Power Change Purpose”: Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure

by Nick Warburton (2011)

This study course is based on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, a play that looks at the consequences when religious beliefs are taken to extremes. The scene is Vienna where the puritanical Count Angelo introduces the death penalty for sex outside marriage, only to be confronted by a young nun, Isabella, pleading for her brother’s life. When Angelo offers to grant her wish in return for sex, everyone’s principles are tested. In this five-part study course an introduction to Shakespeare is followed by three sessions focusing on the psychology and religious beliefs of the protagonists, using Nick Warburton’s one-hour adaptation of key scenes from the play. The final session opens up themes of rebirth and resurrection in Shakespeare’s plays. Each session includes a commentary and questions for discussion, and the course could culminate in a rehearsed reading or performance.

The Man Born to be King: Dorothy L Sayers’s Life of Christ

by Rex Walford (2009)

Commissioned in 1941 by BBC radio to write this play-cycle, Dorothy L Sayers was determined to portray Jesus and his disciples with absolute realism, prey to human emotions, and speaking every-day language. Not surprisingly, as the representation of God or Christ was forbidden in the theatre, the plays caused a sensation when first broadcast.  Their freshness was a revelation and they remain significant contributions to religious drama. The plays form ideal base material for this 12-week study course. They are faithful in meaning to the original text of the Gospels, provide a good grounding in the essentials of the life and teaching of Christ, and should spark off plenty of discussion.

The assumption is made that members of a study course already have a copy of the plays, or are able to obtain one. Copies can be hired from Radius.

The Witnesses: Clive Sansom’s verse monologues 

by Margaret Hunt (2006)

Winner of a Festival of Britain poetry competition in 1951, The Witnesses by Clive Sansom has lost none of its original impact. These verse monologues explore the personal cost of devotion to Jesus, whether through the warped selfishness of Judas, the agony of the disciple John or the search for meaning that drives the Rich Young Ruler. Others less close to Jesus are touched unexpectedly by his presence: the Innkeeper’s Wife at the Nativity, and even the ruthless High Priest Caiaphas. Each of the five study units is based on a theme, including discipleship, healing and betrayal. Each unit includes two poems with accompanying Bible passages, commentary and discussion questions. The poems were written to be read aloud, and the study course might culminate in a rehearsed reading or performance.


Plague & Pandemic ed. Nickie Cox (2020)

Plague and Pandemic is a collection of narratives, poems, monologues and two short plays to be performed as a staged reading or full performance. The content is designed so that social-distancing measures can be observed. Consisting of 22 items in total, the collection takes in the Black Death of 1348, the Great Plague of 1665, the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Coronavirus of 2020. Inevitably, because of the subject matter, much of the content is sombre in tone but more light-hearted pieces have been included and the collection as a whole testifies to the resilience of the human spirit. (Cost: £7, or select ‘Anthologies Volume 1 & 2’ to buy ‘Plague and Pandemic’ with ‘Remembrance/Reconciliation’ for the special offer price of £12.50)

Reconciliation/Remembrance ed. Nickie Cox (2018)

This collection of twenty poems, monologues and short plays is published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I. Thirteen pieces have been specially commissioned, including short dramas on the Unknown Warrior and Coventry Cathedral and a monologue on the Christmas Truce. The theme of reconciliation includes a dramatisation of The Prodigal Son and a scene in which a father is reconciled with his gay son.  £10.


(These short plays are written specifically for an online performance where the scenario is a virtual meeting of some sort. There are no performing fees.)

Always? By Kit Walkham

A church-based women’s group meets online to discuss the inspiring words from 1 Corinthians 13, that love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”. The reality may not be so easy. One woman has a partner suffering from dementia, another is separated by distance, a third has issues she is not willing to discuss, and it gradually emerges that the fourth may be subject to her husband’s coercive control. 4 women.

Any Other Business by Nickie Cox

When the church council meets to discuss routine business, the last thing they’re expecting is that one of their members has had a visit from Jesus. Maybe Arthur finally flipped after his wife left him? Did Jesus offer any explanation, any plan, and importantly what was he wearing? Will the Vicar rise to meet this situation, or sweep it aside with platitudes as usual?  But for Arthur, the encounter is real. 3 men, 3 women, but most could be either.

Family Zoom Time by Martin Keady

Zooming with their mum, a brother and sister find different ways of appreciating the positive things in their lives in the face of the pandemic. Michael’s recent collapse from overwork has made him realise how much he owes his family, while Maisie’s video of her baby daughter taking her first steps brings joy to them all and teaches the lesson of perseverance. 2 women, 1 man.

Ghosting Hamlet by Mark Allen Eaton

In this entertaining time-travelling fantasy, Hildegard of Bingen together with Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Horatio are attending an online class at the University of Wittenberg. Hildegard is presenting a paper on Presence, and the play asks how people can be present to each other across the centuries, across the Zoom airwaves and ultimately how God can be present to the world.

2 men, 2 women.

The Birds are Feeding Me by Rex McGregor

Working from home in his apartment, Doug is being driven mad by Kim in the flat above who is constantly feeding the sparrows. A three-way video call with the chair of the residents’ association, Marion, transforms the situation. Marion resigns her position, persuades Doug to step into her shoes, shares a poem on the pleasure the sparrows have brought her and invites Kim onto the committee.
1 man, 2 women.

The Dark before the Dawn by Les Ellison

The setting of this short Easter play is the computer screen of the apostle John, around midnight on the day after Good Friday. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is with John, and a dishevelled Peter comes on screen, hiding in a farmyard. An unknown mobile address which turns out to be Judas logs on and the apostles hear his side of the Gethsemane encounter. Then Mary Magdalene knocks at John’s door with the news that she has seen Jesus. 3 men, 2 women.

Zoom Dance by James English

Two estranged brothers and a sister share their lockdown experiences online. Terry is just out of hospital with Covid, depressed, short-tempered and unable to contemplate the future, but he gradually becomes interested in his sister Nicole’s playwriting and his brother Dwight’s online dancing sessions. The play ends with the three of them dancing together on screen. 2 men, 1 woman.

The Religious Drama Society of Great Britain

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