In 2005, Jeff Gallagher and Daniel Moore (both members of Second Presbyterian), and Bruce Miller (Artistic Director of Theatre IV / Barksdale, now Virginia Rep), brainstormed a way to bring people of all faiths together in a safe space to talk about their beliefs. They chose theatre as the device to spur conversation and the Acts of Faith was born.
Richmond-area professional theatres offer a show from January through March or April that deals with some aspect of faith. A concurrent Fringe Festival is offered for non-professional theatres to engage their audiences. In the 10 years since it started, the number of participating theatres has grown from a handful to over twenty.
Our audiences continue to grow as well. Talkbacks put the audience and storytellers in conversation, delving deeper into the play’s themes. In 2013, over 1,300 audience members participated in post-show discussions. The talk-backs are consistently named the most meaningful part of the festival.
The Festival is ecumenical and inclusive, assuming a very broad understanding of faith. Sponsoring congregations come from a variety of religious traditions, as do members of the audience.
We hope that folks walk away from these shows with a desire to take their faith deeper and to recognize that, even in our differences, we are all still the same in our humanity.
The Huntly Foundation
Second Presbyterian Church is the convening sponsor of this collaboration between the faith community and professional theatre companies.