Acts of Faith Theatre Festival begins Sunday in Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Faith takes center stage in theaters all over the area, starting this weekend. It is all part of the 11th annual Acts of Faith Theatre Festival - the largest faith-inspired theater event in the nation.

Actors are almost always practicing one act or another at the Virginia Repertory Theatre. However, these days, they are working on several "special" acts.

"I think it's always important as artists to try and relate to every part of the community in ways that make that part of the community feel welcomed in the art form," said artistic director Bruce Miller.

They are perfecting their performances for plays to be featured in this year's Acts of Faith Theatre Festival.

Each one of the more than 20 plays featured in Richmond professional theaters deal with some aspect of various faiths - like the "Whipping Man", directed by Debra Clinton. It is the story of a Confederate soldier and his two former slaves.

"At first glance, it appears to be a play about the Jewish faith. At second glance, it is a play about freedom," said Clinton.

"The Maggie Walker Story" showcases the life of one of Richmond's most famous daughters, looking at how she thrived with limited freedom. John Moon directs this production.

"At a very early age, she joined the church, and through that community, she really came into her own and became a leader and changed her circumstances and the circumstances for many African Americans in Richmond and really around the United States," said Moon.

"Each play supports a message of hope, a message of community. Each of them supports a concept that we can face our problems better by coming together than by treating each other as enemies," said Miller.

The festival begins Sunday at 7 p.m. with a special preview at the November Theatre.

The festival is free, and runs through April 15.

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