Theatre Company Brain Dump

Here’s my plan for the next few years:

2009-2011: Second BA in Theology at Oxford University

2011-2012: M.Litt. in Theology, Imagination & the Arts at the ITIA at the University of St Andrews

2012-2015: D.Phil. in Theology, Imagination & the Arts, ditto

Doctoral dissertation: The Moral Responsibility of the Christian Artist

And then? I’m currently thinking: Create a Christian theatre company.

Here’s my brain dump about my ideal company:

1) Excellent work. In contrast to the view that seems to be prevalent about Christian art, at least in the U.S., having good intentions does not excuse mediocre work.

2) Do only plays that will contribute something to the world – are edifying, or hopeful, or morally exemplary, or challenges us as human beings.

3) Involve the community, whether by doing world premieres of plays by local playwrights, or supporting young artists, or doing talkbacks and discussions. Be sensitive to what the community wants and needs.

4) Eventually would like to do 12 shows a year (like Spotlighters, the theatre where I currently volunteer doing box office, and teach during the summer’s Young Actors’ Academy), but at minimum, 3-4.

5) Actors, directors, designers, technical personnel, and staff are all the same people, and all work together as an ensemble. Each person works according to his strengths, and therefore no one person will take on all roles unless he wants to, but every person will take on more than one role.

6) The company will work with local churches and be of service to them, whether providing space, being involved with worship (as the company members choose), or helping host activities and discussions.

7) Perhaps affiliated with the C.S. Lewis Foundation’s C.S. Lewis College? It would be awesome for the College’s Performing Arts Center to have an Equity theatre affiliated with it, or at least a high-quality professional non-union theatre.

What would you like to see in a Christian theatre company?

10 thoughts on “Theatre Company Brain Dump

  1. This sounds amazing…thanks for stopping by my blog and leading me back to yours! I’m looking to make my way in the theatre world, without lowering my christian standards…I don’t know where to go to study…any advice would be wonderful!

    Affiliating this company of yours with some place like the C.S. Lewis College would be very neat, I think. best of luck to you!

  2. Scott,

    This reply is late in coming (sorry!), but I’d like to do it because I want to learn. I want to be as fully versed as I can in the role of the artist in Christian tradition, and publish a book (a call-to-arms of sorts) in the topic. I figure, if I need (and want) to do a ton of research and reading, I might as well get a degree for it, and do it while I’m still young and unfettered. I’ll have to decide about the doctorate, though, once I start work on the Masters. That might be enough for me. I also have recently decided I would like to form a company partnered with a Christian college. I enjoy being in a college/university setting, and also enjoyed my three semesters teaching a recitation by myself to undergraduates as a student teaching assistant in psychology. It has nothing to do with respect for the company – in fact, I wonder if it may have a negative effect in some circles (though not among the people I’d prefer to work with.)

  3. Hey–I stumbled across your blog a while ago (my Google reader recommended it to me), and I’ve been following you for a while, so I thought I’d introduce myself (and let you know why Google thought I’d like your blog!).

    I’m a faith-based theatre artist, currently getting my MFA in Producing at CalArts (just outside of L.A.), and hoping to eventually start my own theatre company–faith-based, mentorship-driven, youth-oriented theatre; training high-school and college-aged artists by pairing them one-on-one with professionals and then everyone doing a show together.

    That’s still a number of years down the road, but in the meantime, I’m writing my thesis on the intersection between faith and the arts, particularly in the contemporary North American theatre scene.

    Like previous commenter Travis, I have a significant passion for raising the level of professionalism in faith-based theatre, and finding and connecting with artists who are already doing that.

    Anyway, feel free to check out my website (alidaanderson.net) and my blog.

  4. As someone who is not christian I think what would interst me is to try and do something similar to Tyler Perry but with far less caricatures.

  5. I’m curious about the doctorate — if you don’t intend to teach at university, why do it? Do you feel as if it will help garner respect for your company?

  6. The construction of the company and community and fellowship involvement is great.

    But honestly? If all you manage to do with such an endeavor is raise the bar for Christian theatre above the Sunday morning sketch the world will be improved immeasurably.
    (plz note this is no commentary on Pacific.. just my experience as a theatre maker in the Church before I quit the team)

    I also wanted to mention that my own artists responsibility post is up for your perusal.

  7. Have you ever heard of Pacific Theatre? It’s my home base here in Vancouver & has a Christian mandate. We’ve also won a number of local theatre awards for our work. We’re non-union but hire Equity actors under the guest artist Policy.

    The company Website is http://www.pacifictheatre.org. Feel free to shoot me any questions you may have.

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