The Acts of Faith Theatre Festival is a collaboration between the faith and professional theatre communities in the Richmond area. Throughout the winter, metropolitan theater companies offer an intriguing selection of plays and sponsor discussions after many of the performances. These post-performance conversations are intended for audience participation and include the play director, cast members, and theologians. Discussions address topics such as why the play was chosen for the festival, how cultural norms and values are portrayed in the play, and how an individual play might impact one’s faith journey. In addition to the talkback sessions at the theatres, co-sponsoring churches, synagogues, and faith communities encourage adult and youth groups to see the plays together and continue the discussions within their own faith communities.
Crossing religious and cultural lines, the festival provides Richmond with a venue for ecumenical conversations about faith and theatre while helping Richmond’s dynamic and diverse theatre community reach new audiences in a meaningful way. While full productions produced by professional theatres remain the central artistic focus of the festival, the Acts of Faith encourages participation by smaller community groups and complementary events at faith communities. Theatres that do not fully meet the criteria as a professional company may be considered to participate as “Associate Theatres”. The festival allows for three Associate Theatres to participate each season and these three slots will be considered each year. Associate Theatres will be included in all PR but in a separate listing or smaller font. Community readings and productions, that do not receive one of the three associate slots, will be highlighted as Acts of Faith Fringe on the website with a link for information and publicized where space allows.
Criteria for a Professional Theatre
Theatre and faith members of the Steering Committee have suggested the following guideline to determine participation in the Acts of Faith. Current participating professional theatres will guide artistic decisions for the festival. Typically, a Professional Theatre offers one show for the festival in this category.
To be considered in the Professional Theatre category, theaters
Must produce a full production (typically one night performances do not qualify)
Must pay the acting staff
Must be a 501 C 3 entity with responsibility for sustaining an annual production budget
Must have an established reputation in the community for at least three seasons, as indicated by at least two of the following:
-membership in the Richmond Alliance of Professional Theatres -a history of favorable reviews - company produces an annual season of productions (more than one production)
Each year the professional theatres and Acts of Faith committee will select up to three associate theatres. Consideration will include developing professional theatres, the play offered, the ability to reach a new or diverse audience, and ability to balance the faith offerings of the festival. In general, associate theatres will include productions that have a mostly adult cast.
The Acts of Faith Fringe
Theatres that do not meet the criteria of Professional Theatre or Associate Theatre, may be considered for the Fringe Festival. Professional Theatres that have more than one show in the festival are encouraged to enter one show in the Professional category, and the remaining shows in the Fringe Festival.
As the convening sponsor of the festival, 2nd Presbyterian provides organizational leadership and funding, and reserves the right to approve all artistic decisions as well as theatre participation in this festival.
The Huntly Foundation
Second Presbyterian Church is the convening sponsor of this collaboration between the faith community and professional theatre companies.