History of Hopewell's Drama Ministry
In 1963, a dramatic production of the last days of the life of Jesus Christ was presented by members of Hopewell for others in the congregation. It was performed indoors on a stage in Fellowship Hall, on the lower level of the Education Building. The Bible-based play was written by a member of the congregation, Charles J. "Pud" Ax.
The presentation was so popular with the congregation, and eventually the community surrounding Hopewell, that additional performances were added, and it became an annual event. In 1964 arrangements were made to transform the hillside at the rear of the church into an outdoor amphitheater.
The first outdoor performance of The Passion Play was held on June 24, 1966. Since the original days of the outdoor performances (where the audience sat on folding chairs), the Drama Ministry has installed permanent stadium seating for the comfort and convenience of those attending the Play.
The presentation, comprising directors and producers, production, audio engineering, make up, costumes, and lighting crews, in addition to several hundred actors and actresses, are all members of the Hopewell congregation. There have been as many as 400 people involved in this annual presentation in any single season. The performances are in June because of the seasonal weather.
Over the last decade, the Hopewell Drama Ministry has presented different productions each year to add variety to the ways God’s love is presented to our audiences and to draw a growing community of participants in presenting this love through drama, including The Power and The Glory, as well as musical shows including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Malice in the Palace, and Godspell.