Peterson Toscano has shaken up Bible academics and received high praise for his ground-breaking, genre-bending, gender blending Bible scholarship. By unearthing the stories of gender-variant people in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, Toscano’s one-person play deepens well-known (and lesser-known) Bible stories and presents an array of Bible characters with an array of genders.
In August 2016 Peterson retired Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible and will premiere a high-quality film (both the lecture and performance version) that you can purchase on DVD or streaming. Sign up for Peterson’s newsletter to get updates on the film project.
It is an absolute must-see for all… I haven’t had my brain opened up and refilled so gracefully in a long, long time. My heart loved it too.
As a Jewish Studies scholar, educator, and activist for TBLG inclusion in Jewish communities, it was a thrill to see confident transgender characters from the Hebrew scriptures given flesh via the performance activism of Peterson Toscano –and, more importantly, to recognize through his performance that those characters fulfilled social roles in Jewish communities as gender variant folk. Bring Transfigurations to your shul and create an opportunity to dialogue about present-day transgender people in Jewish communities.
Peterson Toscano's work combines astute readings of the Bible with great story-telling and comedy. He offers interpretations of the texts and insights that even experienced biblical scholars haven't seen before. When portrayed by Toscano, Bible stories and characters come to life with wit, sympathy, and humor.
Images from the filming of Transfigurations
Toscano brings a deep reverence for the Biblical text with him into his exploration of gender transgression. This play is mesmerizing and compels the viewer to see well known Bible stories in a brave new light.
As a biblical scholar I'm always a bit skeptical about dramatic interpretations of biblical texts, whether they will truly capture the complexity of the originals; however, Peterson's performances bring to light dimensions of the texts that many, even those of us who spend hours with the text on the page, fail to see. By bringing the stories and characters to life we're able to see the human-ness of the biblical narratives in all its gore and glory.
Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion Conference 2012, Iliff Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, Chicago Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt School of Divinity, University of Massachusetts Amherst, The True Colors Conference, 8th Annual Trans Week at Yale University (Slifka Center for Jewish Life), Pacific School of Religion, University of British Columbia, University of Puget Sound, Haverford College, Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008 (Seattle, WA), Bard College, Tennessee Tech University, Lambeth Conference 2008, Eastern Mennonite University, Trans Faith in Color Conference 2011 The European Forum of LGBT Christians, Ikon (Belfast, Northern Ireland), Gender Odyssey, Warehouse #8 St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity (Valletta, Malta) UT Chatanooga, Northeatern University, 2009 Unity Conference at University of NC Chapel Hill, 2009 CA Transgender Leadership Summit, William Penn House , Warren Wilson College, Creating Change Conference 2012, Wesley Theological Seminar.
Using a technique in which participants engage in a Biblical text through movement and theater, Peterson facilitates a fun, safe, and always insightful series of activities known as Bibliodrama. Groups are amazed at how much new ideas they draw out of well-known stories as they walk through the simple steps Peterson presents. No acting experience required--just your imagination. These activities are designed for people who know the Bible well and who have never read a page of it. Consider having Peterson come to your venue earlier in the day to facilitate a Bibliodrama, then perform one of his original productions in the evening.