FC Fall 2020

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With Theaters Closed, FPA Produces First Online Theatrical Event

It’s a year full of firsts for Fellowship for Performing Arts. The first time we had four different productions on stage in four different cities on the same day.

That was soon followed by a less celebratory first – the first time a pandemic forced the cancellation of our productions in 30 cities.

As a result of that we were able to rearrange our priorities and begin work on our first film (see cover story).

In addition to that, with theatres closed for the foreseeable future, we continued to pursue our mission by creating virtual theatre from a Christian worldview and producing an online presentation of the hit play Martin Luther on Trial.

“We did not know what to expect in terms of audience viewing,” said FPA’s Founder and Artistic Director Max McLean, a writer of the play. “With Christa Scott-Reed directing, we engaged the original New York cast and rehearsed it to be engaging and entertaining and prayed for people to watch it.”
Boy did they!

More than 16,000 people registered for the free presentation, which aired first and exclusively for our Fellowship Circle of supporters, then was available for public viewing the following three days. (The limited time window was due to Actor’s Equity union restrictions on virtual events.)

By the end of those three days more than 25,000 people had watched the virtual presentation. It featured the actors on video from their respective homes and was edited together into a fully interactive production that resulted in overwhelmingly positive responses. Here are just a few of the comments received:

“Virtual theater works! Even in this format the professional performances were engaging, effective and entertaining.”

“The quality of the performance and the authenticity of the actors given the setting and circumstances were fantastic. Makes me want to see more!”

“I’ve seen FPA’s production of this on stage and enjoyed this one almost as much. VERY creative production.”

“The conditions under which we pursue our mission may have changed, but the mission continues,” Max said. “We’re committed to creating and producing art from a Christian worldview to engage a diverse audience whether that is on stage, on film or online.”

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More articles from FCFall 2020

Max McLean Talks C.S. Lewis and Christianity at Northwestern University

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