The shows presented by the 5:16 Players, a new drama ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Columbus, will not particularly be faith-based works.
But artistic and managing director LisaKay Matchen says, “there will be nothing that we would be embarrassed about if Jesus came to see the show.”
The Christian theater will present its first production at the church, “Goldilocks on Trial,” a play by Ed Monk, on March 23 and 24.
“We are going to be doing shows that are fun to be in and fun to watch,” Matchen said.
Matchen moved here in June from Alpharetta, Ga., when her husband Henry accepted a position with Aflac. They have a son, Donny, and daughter, Elena, both in college.
At Alpharetta Presbyterian Church, she was the force behind the ACT1 theater where she directed shows such as “Oliver,” and “Come Blow Your Horn.” Her work on “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” earned her a MAT nomination for best director.
MAT awards are like the Tony Awards for community theater in the metro Atlanta area.
Rev. Joel Alvis is the interim pastor at First Presbyterian. He knew Matchen when he was serving at her church in Alpharetta.
“LisaKay has spent many years in community theater and understands the power that theater can provide for church and community. She is committed to using the 5:16 drama ministry as a place where people who have not done theater may experience the wonder of acting or serving on a crew or being involved in a new venture. I think this will be a great resource and asset not only for First Presbyterian Church but also for the Columbus community,” Alvis said.
Matchen is an independent contractor who does computer programming but has a long love of theater.
Matchen said that at the age of five she toured for six months with a professional production of “The Sound of Music” playing Gretl.
She has performed with Leonard Nimoy in “The King and I,” and with Stubby Kaye in “1776.”
Matchen also danced with the Milwaukee Ballet.
She is excited about First Presbyterian’s new outreach ministry.
“This will not be just members at First Presbyterian performing. We will have open auditions. Of course, I hope many members of the church will want to participate, if not on stage, then preparing sets. People here know how to sew, how to build things.”
Matchen said through the use of drama the church is striving to provide fellowship and entertainment to the community.
The ministry will also provide dramatic readings of scripture and skits for Sunday worship.
She feels the theater group will do well in Columbus which she called an “arts town.”
There will be a children’s show in the spring and a dinner theater in the fall.
“We will not be doing musicals. We will leave those to the Springer Opera House,” she said.
She called the ministry another way to “share god’s love with the community.”
“This way we are offering another way for First Presbyterian to serve as a welcoming place for the community and for fellowship with the first Presbyterian family,” she said.
The ministry gets its name from Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is Heaven.”
Children and senior citizens may both participate and Matchen is looking forward to Columbus State University students participating.
“We have some in our choir here. There is a lot of talent going to class downtown,” she said.
Matchen said the first show “Goldilocks on Trial,” features “old characters in a new story.” Actors, ages 6-18, are needed for that one.
Auditions will be 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Jan. 9 and 10 in the church gym.
Anyone interested in the group should contact Matchen at email@example.com or www.columbusfpc.org. You may call the church at 706-322-4523.