Conservatory Finale

The final performance of our students at the Salvation Army's Territorial Arts Ministry Conservatory is now online. You can watch it below or by clicking here if you received this via email. My students' performance, which we created via sociodrama, is at 39:25. 

There's not much I taught Kathryn Ballantine about dance, but her piece is at 35:38, based on one of my favorite verses: Isaiah 40:31. When they were asked for a title for their piece one of the dancers in the group heard that chapter and verse from Isaiah, not knowing what it was. It fits the choreography beautifully!

The pieces directed by my former student, Brad Cain, begin at 46:26, 1:03:05, 1:07:25, and 1:39:20.

I'm quite certain I taught Ryan Livingston absolutely nothing about visual arts, but he has incorporated drama into the presentation of his program's work. You can see that at 1:09:42 and 2:04:25. The form of the performance in the second section may be a world premiere! Ryan was inspired by sandbox art. He knew he wouldn't have time to set up a sandbox for the finale, so he created the work you'll see. I think it's unbelievable!

Mabel López-Cuevas attended one of my sociodrama workshops at a Christians in Theatre Arts Conference in Puerto Rico. She directed her students in creating one of my favorite choreodramas, which you can see at 1:33:43.

Students from the worship track created a song to go with our theme verse, Acts 1:8. You can hear the students who created the song singing it at 27:52 and all of our students singing it at 2:09:26.

You have to watch it on the main page to move to different times. 



I teach annually at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers CampSubscribe to get a note that registration is open.

Conservatory Report

This morning I got to share a report about the Salvation Army's Territorial Arts Ministry Conservatory, and I made reference to a series of Divine appointments that occurred yesterday, which you can read about here.

Pastor Jim Warren preached on Haggai 1:1-15, 2:15 and 18. Pastor Linda Warren opened with prayer and later led in commissioning new board member Eva P.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

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I teach annually at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers CampSubscribe to get a note that registration is open.

God just blew my mind!

We never got all four faculty members
who were my former students together
for a single photo, but this is
Jonathon Shaffstall, Brad Cain,
and Kathryn Ballantine. 
All week I've been performing, teaching and directing at the Salvation Army's TAM Conservatory, where we've been meditating on Acts 1:8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

This morning during the send out I shared with the community how the Lord had been speaking to me about his long-term plans with the Conservatory. The Territorial Commanders, William and Lorraine Bamford, addressed our students after many faculty and students shared, and Commander William Bamford pointed out that we're approaching 1500 students who have been trained at the Conservatory, and many have gone on to do great things for the Lord. This year four faculty members had been my students at TAMC years ago. I asked faculty members to stand who had previously been a student there, and I believe there were nine!

We had a BLAST catching up with
Sean and Cath Gaffney, who
taught me so much about writing,
acting, and teaching!
So, this morning I was on faculty at TAMC with Brad Cain, who had been my student at TAMC 15 years ago. Then, tonight Sean and Cath Gaffney messaged me that they were in NYC and asked if we were free. Sean was on the faculty at Regent University while Brad and Cath (Sean loved being a professor dating a student!) were working on their M.F.A.s in acting at Regent together.

But wait, there's more! Sean and Cath were in the city to see Samantha Sturm, who the three of us taught...wait for it... about 15 years ago! Samantha is now in her sixth Broadway show, CATS, and that's the Broadway show that brought Carol Jaudes, the founding director of TAMC and Susie Somerville Brown into their first collaboration.

OK, so now it gets really interesting: Samantha was 14 when we worked with her. On Thursday Susie worked with my students, who were 14 and up, and this morning a 14-year-old student of mine at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp a month ago was staying with her family at our place while we were at TAMC.

So the only four 14-year-olds I believe I've ever worked with were connected by this day.

Ryan Livingston was my student for
acting, and though he was on faculty
to teach visual arts he used his flair
for performance in the presentation
of their artwork.
Lord, raise up all of our students to co-create with You, the only One who could have even thought of arranging that many Divine appointments in a single day to blow my mind and encourage me to pray all the more diligently for my students, no matter their age!


#PowerToBe
#smallworldBIGKINGDOM


I teach annually at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers CampSubscribe to get a note that registration is open.

Full Circle

I've been having a blast performing, teaching and directing at my 13th Salvation Army TAM Conservatory. Our theme has been "Power to Be," based on Acts 1:8: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth," and we've been seeing power and witness!

Early in our rehearsal for the finale there was a technical issue. I prayed that, since we've been learning to call upon the Power of the Lord, that He would help us with all of our technical needs. They fixed the problem so quickly that everyone got that it was the Lord and we all cheered!

Two of the actors and two of the dancers have trained this week not only to perform but to become leaders in the future. The quote that hit the slide before their dance was from Hudson Taylor: "The power of prayer has never been tried to its full capacity." That being said, our students did quite a lot of exploring!

Jonathon, Brad and Kathryn hanging
with me.
It's been such a privilege to be on faculty with five of my former students! Last night Jonathon Shaffstall and Kathryn Higgins made me laugh until the tears were streaming down my face with late night improv. The tears actually fell into my ears since I was a guest artist, playing a cadavre.

On Wednesday night Brad Cain taught a master class on directing. I felt like he put the brush strokes of a whole semester into the canvas of an hour!

Speaking of artwork, my former student Ryan Livingston brought his experience as a performer into his visual arts students' presentation of their work, including a board you just have to see to understand.

Mabel López-Cuevas attended one of my sociodrama workshops at a Christians in Theatre Arts Conference in Puerto Rico. She directed her students in creating one of my favorite choreodramas.

Friday morning I got to do a reading of John 4:1-45, The Woman at the Well, with Kathryn and her husband, Kyle Higgins. Then Kathryn's mother, Heather Ballentine, showed us the video at the bottom of this page. Heather and her husband Len led the Territorial School of Music and Gospel Arts (TSoMaGA). We talked this week about thin places, where we sense the reality of Heaven in a palpable way. TSoMaGA is one of the thinnest experiences I've known. Heather reminded us that in non-Western societies miracles are being experienced more often: the lame are walking, the blind are seeing, the dead are coming back to life! She closed by inviting us to invite the Holy Spirit to have unfettered reign in our lives! It got seriously thin! We anointed each other with water, and waited on the Lord, who visited us palpably.

When our drama team gathered afterward we shared how the Holy Spirit spoke to us, and we did a couple of powerful enacted prayers.

Here's a powerful spoken word piece that was used early in the service:


If you received this via email visit http://blog.richdrama.com (8/11/17) to see the video.

More reports at #TAMC on Instagram and Facebook.

Salvation Army Conservatory Chapter 17

This will be the 13th out of 17 years at which I've taught and directed at the Salvation Army's Territorial Arts Ministry Conservatory. Carol Jaudes, who runs the program, was in CATS on Broadway for five years before the Salvation Army brought her on to facilitate using the performing arts in a greater capacity. There are several faculty members who have been more regular than I have been! Carol pointed out that we keep coming back because there's something very special here, and that it is so because we really focus on the students. I also think it's because creating with the Creator is catching a glimpse of Heaven.

I’ll be directing a piece from the Book of Acts. We’ll create a sketch through sociodrama, exemplifying the theme of the week: POWER TO BE, based on Acts 1:8…But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my WITNESSES in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Pray we tap into the unsearchable wisdom of the Lord and create something that reflects his brilliance. I’ll also teach a technique class using exercises developed by Sanford Meisner, which put an emphasis on listening. I’m going to focus on the importance not only to listen to our fellow actors but also to the Holy Spirit. I’ll also be teaching enacted prayer.

Pray for stamina, Salvations, rededications, calls to ministry and missions.

If you're in the area, you're welcome to join us for our finale on Friday at 6:30 or 8:30 at the Salvation Army College for Officer Training, in their Lecture Hall at 201 Lafayette Ave, Suffern, New York.

Though the conservatory is only open to members of the Salvation Army, I also teach each year at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Sign up for the announcement that we're taking registrations for 2018.

Give Thanks to the Lord

This morning I got to lead Westchester Chapel in giving thanks for all the Lord has done for Westchester Chapel through Psalm 136.

Pastors Jim and Linda Warren bring 1 Chronicles 16:1-9 and 2 Chronicles 20 to life in a variety of ways. Dr. Linda leads us in the Eucharist. Pastor Jim mentions research that's been done on the effect playing violent video games has on those who play and society at large. You can read about some of those studies in the article "Trained to Kill."

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

We've been in the Bible Study series "Pictures of Jesus," and here's Eva P.'s summary of the series, setting us up for the final Picture of Jesus: Jesus as King.

Check www.WestchesterChapel.org to find out when our next Bible study will take place.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the summary:



If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Celebrate Fellowship

Rich and Pastor Joyce on the
Sea of Galilee.
Joyce and I were tasked with creatively summarizing Westchester Chapel's year-and-a-half-long sermon series, The Great Gift of Fellowship. I used a sociogram (though I didn't tell them that!), which is a tool developed through sociodrama. The results were fantastic!

I opened by telling a bit more about my performance for gang members imprisoned on Riker's Island: www.RichDrama.com/FatherDaughterDance.

Pastor Jim Warren shared announcements, and he mentioned Celebrity Confessions. You can find out more about the last two performances (July 24 and August 28) at www.RichDrama.com/CelebrityConfessions.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Larry Belew's Memorial

I had the opportunity to sing at Larry Belew's funeral in Wichita, KS. I tell more of my connection to him in the introduction to the song, but he had a major impact on my life the first week I moved to NYC. 

You can hear my song at 1:18:20. 

Also, Mac Nelson, best man at our wedding spoke, and his stories about Larry were from an important time in my life. You can hear him speak at 28:40. 

Our friend, David Wallace, who played viola for my 9/11/02 performances of Five Bells for 9/11 and later recorded it for the play's soundtrack, wrote a profound letter to the family, which is read at 1:15:15.

I Was in Prison

I recently got to perform for gang members incarcerated at Riker's Island. Upon arrival there was some kind of a fight which required a lockdown: No one was able to move from place to place anywhere in the facility. So we started late. The half-hour I'd prepared to fill was reduced to about 10 minutes, so instead of the 20-minute Jonah followed by a message I did Lazarus and just followed it with an altar call. 

There were about 30 guys, and after telling them that the same power that raised Lazarus and Jesus from the dead could empower them to overcome any darkness in their lives. Then I invited them to give their lives to the Lord. I told them that if they already knew the Lord to pray aloud so people would know. One guy on our team said though he didn't look around during that prayer his sense was that some may have come in as Christians but they all left as new creations in Christ! Pray the Lord speaks into the new commitments and that they all attend the Bible studies that are offered!

My grandmother took me to visit inmates when I was in junior high. I know that gave me confidence that I can talk to anyone and that eternity is more important than fear.

Another prison connection happened last month when I got to accept the award for Best Animated Film at the International Christian Film Festival. I accepted it for a teenager: Garrison Hill. His family produced A Matter of Perspective for which I won Best Actor in a Short Film. You'll have to watch this four-minute film to see its connection to prison.

Click below to watch, or if you're reading this from an email you can watch the film at www.RichDrama.com/FatherDaughterDance.


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A Clear Leading tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Fellowship: Jesus Is with You in Mission

I got to open this morning's service at Westchester Chapel, and I did so by sharing about an upcoming booking, which I'll share more about later. I also introduced the film The Pilgrim's Progress, for which we hosted the NYC Premiere.

Pastor Jim Warren preaches on Matthew 28:16-20. He mentioned a video of Francis Chan, which you can see below, and he refers to the illustration pictured below.  Announcements by Rachel Taylor.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:









This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

The Pilgrim's Progress film

WOW! WOW! WOW!!!!!
We almost got to see this at the International Christian Film Festival, but technical issues and time constraints collaborated to keep us from it. The director, was kind enough to give us a screener. It's absolutely brilliant!
I've been a fan of Pilgrim's Progress since landing a role in a musical version by auditioning for the producers while showing them around the Lamb's Theatre my first year or so in NYC.
It's shot in glorious Southern Oregon where we filmed A Matter of Perspective, and where I grew up. They worked on a micro-budget with actors from church, but David played their limitations like an instrument! The way they tackled complex challenges is simply genius! I think it has the excellence and camp that could make it a Christian Princess Bride.
Joyce said, "We loved it! We super super loved it!"
It's being released in August, so be sure to like their Facebook page to get the announcement.

Watch the trailer and a scene below:






A Clear Leading tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp 2017


We had such a wonderful week with these amazing people at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp! We completed the short film "Milk and Oranges" based on a true story told by Nathan Ashton, who shares seven film credits with me

This marked Joyce's directorial debut:


The rough cut of our short looks great! I'll let folks know when it's ready through www.RichDrama.com/Updates

We also provided headshots to all the actors, and I coached each of them for an audition to a live feature film. Woo hoo!

International Christian Film Festival Awards

Tonight the International Christian Film Festival Awards will be aired on TV and online.

Here are the nominations for which I might have gone to the stage:
• Represented A Matter of Perspective for Best Short Film

• Performed and served as Acting Coach on One Day, which was nominated for Best Short Film

• Represented Mike Hill for Best Director of a Short film for A Matter of Perspective

• Coached Andrew Hurt, who was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Short Film for One Day

• Was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Short Film for A Matter of Perspective

• Represented Hudson Michael Hill for Best Lead Actor in a Short Film for Mission Underground, for which I was a consultant

• Represented the Hill family for "Father Daughter Dance," which was nominated for Best Animated Film

• Represented the Hill family for "Father Daughter Dance," which was nominated for Best Student Film
I got to go up three times, so if you forgot which ones, don't look them up so you can enjoy the suspense! The third time, they cut what I said after the director.

Here's an article on the event: International Christian Film Festival Exceeds Expectations.

You can watch the awards show below:



Restoring Fellowship

Joyce celebrates Father's Day by teaching on Matthew 27:45-56. She mentions the confirmation of my grandfather's Salvation. Opening by Pastor Jim Warren. Communion by Dr. Linda Warren.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Treasure Seekers will share some exciting news this Sunday

Trevor has been having adventures up north, and on Sunday you'll hear an amazing story about a translation of the Beatitudes and how they can bring life to our lives.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play this ad for Treasure Seekers:



If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Renew the Love!

Joyce teaches on the Book of Ruth, which is read every year at the Feast of Weeks, celebrated by the Church as Pentecost, which falls today. She referenced Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12.

Pastor Rachel Taylor opens and prays over the service. Call to worship by Melanie Solomon, who also reads John 14:16-17.

Pastors Jim and Linda Warren renew their marriage vows and are commissioned by the board as the new co-lead pastors of Westchester Chapel.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

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Registration is now open for the 2017 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, and we have a surprise opening! Send an email to the address on the Registration Page at www.ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com.

Celebrity Confessions: Live from Broadway

I've been cast in an exciting New York City production, Celebrity Confessions: Live from Broadway, which opens June 12!

We'll be baring our souls and sharing how the Lord met us in our lowest valleys.

Among the cast I have four friends involved:

Daniel Knudsen, Joyce Swingle,
Kristina Kaylen, Patricia Mauceri
and me at the NYC premiere
of Courageous Love
Patricia Mauceri (Courageous Love, The Farmer and the Belle, One Life to Live) and I have worked together for more than a decade. She has worked alongside James Earl Jones, Christopher Plummer, Richard Dreyfus, Johnny Depp and many, many more.

Joyce and me with Jim Chandler
and his wife Jenn Gotzon.
Jenn and I are each holding
our Best Lead in a Short
Film awards at the International
Christian Film Festival.
Jenn Gotzon, who has performed in five films with me, and her husband, Jim Chandler, who's been in over 35 film projects. I was a producer on the NYC footage of their film The Farmer and the Belle in which I also played Jenn's character's manager.

Donna East at Comedy Strip Live,
where she's hosted several events.
My friend of two decades, Donna East, will be opening the show. She is a comedienne who has performed around the world with the USO.

I've been blown away during the rehearsals to hear surprising, shocking, healing, encouraging things from friends I've known, in some cases, for decades! I'm so blessed by these folks!!!

The director and producer is Jordan Scott Gilbert. I met Jordan a couple of years ago through Mastermedia. He is the first recipient of Broadway Global's Producer of the Year Award.

Broadway World ran a great article on the production.

Our first performance had a standing ovation!

Watch my Schedule if you'd like to be sure to see me in a performance, and save the service fees by using the code RSwingle when you buy your tickets at the door: Actors Temple Theatre, 330 West 47th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenue). You can also buy tickets in advance at St. Luke's Theatre Box Office, 46th St., between 8th and 9th Avenues, New York, NY 10036. Be sure to check box office hoursFor Group Sales click here, and use the code when you pay by check.

We are now offering 20% OFF of all ticket sales exclusively through www.TelechargeOffers.com with the code CELEB01 (enter it in the box at the top - left hand side of the page).  To go directly to this offer, you can also click here.

Friends, the producer has kindly set up a system whereby the actors can earn a commission from your tickets. After you purchase your tickets using CELEB01 I'd be SO grateful if you would send a personal email to info@oceanbayentertainment.com before that performance begins with the subject: CELEB01, and in the body of the email: your first/last name, # of tickets, final sale price, show date, and RSwingle, as illustrated below:

Subject: CELEB01
John Smith
2 Tickets
TOTAL SALE PRICE 
RSwingle

Please help spread the word: Like our Facebook Page and join our Facebook Event!

*Parents should know there are themes of addictions and brokenness mentioned en route to wholeness in Christ.

Lamplighter Theatre

Crystal Van Artsdalen, Rebekah Stought,
Rachel Marley and Morgan Fairbanks
have been my students at MasterWorks
 and The Rocky Mountain Christian
Filmmakers Camp
.
I played several roles and served as Afghan accent coach in the audio dramas Escape from the Eagle's Nest and The Giant Killer for Lamplighter Theatre, part of Lamplighter Ministries (www.Lamplighter.net).

When they're finished in a few months they'll be broadcast on about 2,000 radio stations around the world.

The Giant Killer is now available for pre-order, and on that page you can hear my voice in the Behind the Scenes Recordings at 19 seconds and 1:23.

Escape from the Eagle's Nest is also available for pre-order. You can see interviews

Both stories are based on books by A.L.O.E., which stands for A Lady of England. It was the pseudonym she used to get those and many other books published in the 1800s.
In the booth with Israel Oyelumade,
Rachel Marley and David Sanborn.

After I was cast as a cook (to perform the role, not to actually prepare food), I was asked to recommend someone who could play an Afghan who grows from a little girl into a married woman. I recommended some of my students, and they chose Rachel Marley. Besides being my student numerous times she was on our performing arts team in Sochi during the 2014 Olympics. What a delight to work with her and have several scenes together.

A few weeks after they cast Rachel, producer John Fornof told me there were visa issues. They used to record in London, so that's where all their contacts are. John’s US contacts are union actors. He asked if I could get the word out to my nonunion contacts in case the visas did not come through since just about everyone besides Rachel and I were coming from the UK. This was the first time they invited people to watch the process, so dozens of observers were signed up, coming to Mt. Morris, NY, from as far as North Dakota.

Nathan "Nato" Jacobson and I have
been a part of four films together.
I sent out about 350 emails to students and colleagues who turned in 189 auditions. John and executive producer Mark Hamby said they had perfect peace about the situation and were sure the visas would come through but if not, God would provide. When the final word came that the visas were denied John and team went through all the auditions in two days, normally a two-week process! The casts were announced on Friday and Saturday and we began recording on Monday!

Garry Nation and I (who share three
film credits
) got to play giant brothers:
He was Sloth, and I was Selfishness.
The only one from the UK was Israel Oyelumade, who volunteered his time to bypass the need for a visa! Before I performed Beyond the Chariots for the community he shared how the Lord had led him to play Jesus in a massive Passion play. It was done outdoors with 300 actors.

I was delighted that Lamplighter Theatre cast four of my students, and that I got to perform with colleagues from numerous films. My friend David Sanborn was cast in twelve of the 17 roles for which he auditioned, and then he picked up others along the way.

Working with so many great friends in and of itself made it one of my favorite weeks, but the highlight came through a new friend, Akmal. Patrick Powell the director of Escape from the Eagle's Nest found him on an internet search. Akmal lived his first twelve years in Southern Afghanistan, where the story takes place! He translated passages from The Sermon on the Mount, Revelation and Isaiah into Pashto, and then he came up with a tune inspired by music from his homeland and recorded himself singing the Scripture while he played keyboards underneath it.

John Fornof and I in London where
he directed me in The Dragon and
the Raven
.

Our director for Escape from
the Eagle's Nest
, Patrick Powell,
is one of a very small number
of actors who have performed
St. John in Exile by Dean Jones.
David Sanborn sang the Scriptures with our friend's tune, then he led the rest of the cast humming the tune. We were portraying the Afghanis who began by shouting down the foreigner. Then, as they were hearing words of life in their heart language, sung with a familiar tune they quieted down, and slowly started to join, humming the tune. I got to direct small groups who joined as the Scripture moved along. Once all of them had joined in, something extraordinary occurred. As had happened when he was singing the Pashto translation, David became overwhelmed with what was happening. We were all touched at a very deep level, so much so that everyone observing, including the director, were weeping. Executive Producer Mark Hamby compared it to the tongues of fire that fell on the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2)!

I can't wait to hear how it turns out! Be sure to get the announcement of its release by signing up at www.RichDrama.com/Updates.



Below you can hear my voice at :02, 1:03, where I'm performing with two former students, and see my "sword fight" at 1:05.


Below you can hear me at :25.