Holy Play: Liturgy as Theatre

Of course, my presence in Chichester was to attend a seminar on ‘Holy Play: Liturgy as Theatre’.

It was held in the Bishop’s Palace, adjacent to Chichester Cathedral.

Bishop Martin Warner welcomed us to the seminar. I was not alone as my Melbourne colleague, Archdeacon Gail Pinchbeck, joined me in Chichester for the day.

We met in what was described as the Old Palace kitchen, though as the Bishop confessed to us, there was no certainty or evidence that this large space had ever been a kitchen.

Our first speaker was Edward Kemp the head of RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), speaking on ‘Parts and Vicars’.

A former chorister at the cathedral, his discussion of acting techniques and the synergy with the role of priest was quite fascinating, and drew many questions from clergy and lay participants alike.

After lunch, Fr Robin Ward, principal of St Stephen’s House in Oxford spoke on ‘Liturgical Theology and the Art of Celebration’. His dissertation on the changes to liturgical practice over the past sixty years, and the unfulfilled hope of well-intentioned variations were very illuminating.

I took a moment to say investigate the Bishop’s chapel.

Then it was farewell to Chichester and its shingled roofs as I caught the train back to London.


  1. Happy, happy birthday, Ian. We visited Chichester Festival Theatre, but I cant remember the play – it was an old one about cricket, not a classic.

    I have a print of the Canal with the cathedral in the distance by Turner but Im looking forward to our movie night.

  2. Your visit to Chichester must have been the highlight of you trip? I can imagine your face as you listened, just as it reflects your approval when you listen to

    Jenny or John at the pulpit. “Holy Play: Liturgy as Theatre” promises so much.

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