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Hurlburt Hall (Room 136), McMaster Divinity College,
1280 Main St W
Hamilton , Ontario
Wed, October 05, 2022
Start: 01:00 PM
End: 02:00 PM

At this week’s Theological Research Seminar, Emma Clarke will be presenting Softening the Boundaries: Experiences of Transcendence in Community Musical Theatre and Social TheatreRead the abstract and bio below.

All are welcome to attend in Hurlburt Hall at McMaster Divinity College at 1:00pm or via livestream at the link below:

Join the Livestream
Password: z00m (Note that the password has zeros rather than “o”)


Each year, millions of people flock to Broadway to be entertained by plays or musicals. Similarly, friends and family members everywhere join as theatre audiences to support loved ones in school productions. But what about the people on the other side of the curtain, those putting on the shows? What meaning do these experiences have in their lives? Emma has used David Lynch’s Revised Correlational Method to exegete testimonials from amateurs engaged in creating community musical and social theatre to reveal both that flow and communitas are commonly experienced, and that these may be considered forms of transcendence. Through interacting with a study by Lee Phillip McGinnis and further questioning the adequacy of these experiences the converse is seen to be true. Alienation in community and social theatre programs can restrict
experiences of transcendence. Emma advocates for continued work toward softening and eventually dissolving boundaries on the basis of gender, ability, race, etc. in this field.


Emma is passionate about doing life together in community, diving deep into God’s Word and extending a helping hand. By using her classical and jazz piano education in her position as church worship director and musical theatre pianist, music is a way to connect with community. She is presently working toward a Doctor of Practical Theology at MDC. On behalf of the not-for-profit Presbyterian World Service & Development, Emma writes as Public Engagement Assistant and greatly enjoys leading the monthly prayer calls. Emma works and worships at King Bible Church in King City.

About TRS

The MDC Theological Research Seminar (TRS) is a bimonthly gathering for all MDC students and faculty. TRS meets over the lunch hour on Wednesdays, and includes about thirty minutes for the paper presentation and twenty minutes for discussion.

All advanced degree students are invited to present a paper and share your research with your colleagues. TRS is an excellent opportunity to “test drive” a paper you will be presenting at an upcoming conference and receive helpful feedback on your current research projects. Thinking about submitting an article to a journal and want some interaction first? TRS will provide it. Just published an article or an essay and want to share it us? TRS is an excellent opportunity to broadcast it.

This year the organizing committee consists of Dr. Francis PangDr. Wendy Porter, and Dr. Steve Studebaker. To submit a paper, contact a member of the organizing committee.