Adelaide Anglicans

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St Paul in the frame

By Marie Danvers


A short play about St Paul with a completely new take on his character has been turned into a film.

Miriam’s Love by Judith Conrow-Shipley was filmed over two days in St John’s Church by Sydney-based cinematographer Aaran Creece.

It is the fourth short play written by Conrow-Shipley from themes in the New Testament and the first to be filmed.

“The play stems from my sense that St Paul has been regarded as a hard, perhaps ruthless man in his passion for spreading the message,” Judith says.

“In the play I explore my feeling that there must be a softer side to such a dedicated follower of Jesus.”

A long-time parishioner of St John’s, Judith is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and had a long history in theatre in London, before moving to Sydney and then Adelaide more than a decade ago.

She was the founding director of Adelaide drama school, Les Enfants.

The Road to Emmaus, Judith’s first play, sparked her interest in the play-writing and play-making process, and was followed by The Marriage at Cana and The Messenger.  

“I like to go to the local pub, have a glass of wine and write,” she says.

Miriam’s Love was directed by Cristina Indelicato, with Judith playing Miriam, James Whitrow St Paul and Craig Ritchie St Luke.

It was first performed at St John’s earlier this year, followed by wine and food prepared by Judith and served in the St John’s garden

‘Although Miriam is an imaginary character, most audiences feel that she seems to be a natural part of Paul’s life’, she says.

Prue Walker, a St John’s parishioner and companion of the Society of the Sacred Mission said Miriam’s Love explores a familiar story about which there is very little known.

“Inventions of this sort are of great interest to Christians because they encourage people to consider events in the Bible with new eyes and possibly achieve new insights,” she says.  

Judith Conway-Shipley’s friendship with filmmaker Aaron Creece goes back to their theatre days in London and the pair are delighted to be working together again.

The film’s premiere is planned at St John’s early in 2016.