Who says you’re in?

As many of you know, I am the president of the theatre group at Fuller Theological Seminary, The Fuller Company.  When we plan shows, we open auditions to the greater Los Angeles acting community as well as the Fuller student body, for various reasons.  Not too long ago, we held auditions for our latest production, and as it turns out, all three roles in the show went to actresses from outside of Fuller.  Now the question came up,

“is it still a Fuller production, if none of the cast members are students?”  To which I ask, are the actors in a production the only important participants? Or are the producers, directors, designers, stage managers and crew just important?  Having worked previously in technical theatre as well as on stage, I will admit to you the question was entirely rhetorical.  From my perspective, the “techies” and other non-acting participants are just as valuable.  I think it is a healthy part of how this theatre company operates, as many of the student members intend to minister in and to the world in some way.

Why should we disconnect ourselves artistically from others who may not share our religious views? (And speaking of which, why should we jump to such conclusions—just because none of these actresses happen to currently be Fuller students is in no way any indication of that their personal beliefs happen to be.)

So, there is the question.  When and where should we work with people with different beliefs than our own?  Is there a benefit one way or the other? What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “Who says you’re in?

  1. I really appreciate this post for two reasons.

    First I agree that we too often overlook the people who do the work of putting on plays. I spent years as a set builder, tech guy and overall handiperson for shows and I was just as involved in the shows as my acting friends. From having worked both as an actor in shows and as someone behind the scenes I can totally advocate that this is a Fuller production by its overwhelming participation by Fuller students and student groups in the more behind the scenes roles.

    Second I believe that we do far better work in our world if we bring in others as partners in our endeavors. Most Christians work in regular jobs and interact daily with people that wouldn’t consider themselves Christians. This is what living is about. We are supposed to incarnate Christ’s message. This should be possible in theater here at Fuller as well as in every other aspect of Christian living.

  2. As Christians, we often cut ourselves off from people who are “different” and surround ourselves with people who think like we do. It’s much more comfortable that way and totally nonthreatening, but it is also isolating. We are called to be “salt” and “light”–it’s extremely difficult to do that when you only associate with other Christians.

  3. Is the story true and do you tell it truthfully? Are your choices of script, of talent, of venue, and of audience care choices that reflect a worldview that Fuller is informing? If so, then the production is fruit of Fuller’s influence, and the institution should be privileged to see the harvest that it is producing. If these things are not the case, it won’t be because you didn’t cast Fuller students in the leading roles, and deeper issues need addressing. My .02c

  4. Jesus tended to be inclusive, rather than exclusive.

    Humans tend to be exclusive, rather than inclusive.

    Jesus ended up being more influential.

    Maybe the non-Christian actors want to be influenced by Christians? They chose to audition at a Christian Company. Maybe this particular production will be a turning point for them…we never know what God is up to…

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