Theatre Festival “opening ceremony”

With storms rolling through the Metro Jackson area, we’ve decided to move our ‘opening ceremony’ to the world wide web.  The storms will have passed through in time for the rest of the evening’s festival events to continue as scheduled.

Opening Address:

On behalf of the faculty, staff and students of the Theatre department, I would like to share a few thoughts on the Belhaven Theatre Festival, which officially begins this evening and continues through Saturday, April 16.  While this is our inaugural festival, it is our sincere hope to make this an annual event.

The idea of the festival grew out of our desire as a department to create as many opportunities as possible for students to showcase their talents, their interests, and their gifts, particularly when it comes to the creation of new theatre.  We are excited about the slate of events this year, including the visits of our guest artists Rich Swingle and C. McNair Wilson.

The word ‘festival’ is derived from the word ‘feast’, which was used to describe not only a celebratory meal (often during times of plentiful supply), but also in connection to a religious ceremony or celebration.

The Greek word ‘theatron’, which is the basis for our word ‘theatre’, literally translates as “a seeing place.”  The word contains the implication that the theatre is a place to perceive, to visit, the action that takes place there; action which often includes the presence of the divine.

It is our hope that the Belhaven Theatre Festival will be that place where we may come into contact with, and enable ourselves to perceive, the divine.  That it will be a time of plenty, and that it will be a time of celebration.  A celebration of our community.

Our prayer for the Festival:


Our Father

And Creator

We give you praise

We thank you for your gifts to us

We thank you for the opportunity to offer them back

We offer you this Festival

An offering of our time, our talents, our energies, our focus

May it be a blessing to you

May it be a blessing to the audiences you bring

May you speak your Truth through us

May you guide our work

May you keep us safe

May your presence be with us

And bless us

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ


C. McNair Wilson – guest artist

McNair WilsonWe are glad to be hosting guest artist C. McNair Wilson during the second weekend of this year’s Belhaven Theatre Festival, for a performance of his one-man show From Up Here on Friday, April 15 at 7 pm.  Wilson is a sought-after speaker and performer, a director and author; a former Disney Imagineer and is the co-founder of IMAGINU!TY Unlimited.  He will be visiting our classes and sharing with the theatre students during our weekly departmental meeting, as well as leading a creativity seminar open to the Belhaven community on Saturday the 16th.  For more info on McNair (and to check out his books and videos) visit his website or his blog.

Guest Artist Rich Swingle!

Actor Rich Swingle will be joining us during the first weekend of the upcoming Belhaven Theatre Festival to share his one-man performance of Beyond the Chariots, the story of Olympian Eric Liddell (whose life story served as the basis for the film Chariots of Fire), on Saturday April 9.  He has presented this piece Off-Broadway, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and in the cities of Beijing, Vancouver and Singapore during the Olympic Games.  Rich is the theatre program director for the MasterWorks Festival each summer, is on the board of directors for Christians in Theatre Arts, and was on the planning committee for Media and Arts at the Lausanne Congress on World EvangelizatioRichSwingleHeadshotn in Cape Town, South Africa.

Rich will also be guest speaking with several of our class sessions, instructing a workshop in SocioDrama, and presenting at our weekly Departmental meeting on his experience with the Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action.