Backyard Plays and Backstage Secrets Pt. 1 – The Drama Team of Calvary Temple Sterling VA

outdoor  theater

I’ve been a member of Calvary Temple Church in Sterling VA for over 25 years now.  We are passionate about reaching the lost and encouraging the Believers in our community.  We have many Events throughout the year to spread the Gospel.  I hope you find the following story to be a blessing.

I grew up putting on plays in the backyard with my friends.  The kind where you make up the script as you go along.  And your grandparents sit patiently enduring it and clap at the end like you just nailed the lead in Macbeth.  One such play involved re-enacting the musical numbers from the movie Grease.  It included a lot of awkward dance moves and some mid-production arguing on who got to play the lead of Sandy.  It was my record [a round disc that played music in the olden days] so I was convinced it should be me.  Naturally.

My love of the theater continued into High School where I tried out for the Spring Musical Production of West Side Story.  My audition went so well I was immediately  cast as the girl who sits as far away from the stage as possible and runs the spotlight from the back.  Thus began my career backstage.  No one claps for the lights but they sure notice when they’re not there.  I do however get to surprise people from time to time with the fact that I have a Varsity Letter.  In Theater.  For Stage Crew.  It doesn’t sound as exciting when you spell it all out like that.


When the day came that I was asked to be a part of a drama team to put on plays for the congregation at Calvary Temple you can imagine I was thrilled.  You would be imagining wrong.  I actually said, “No, I’d rather stay home and watch the Nanny on TV.” But then God doesn’t take no for an answer so my acting days were resurrected.  I was placed on the writing team to develop a script called Matthew Mugglebee’s Miracle Cures.  It’s a play about the error of looking to worldly methods to cure spiritual problems.  Soon after Matthew Mugglebee we discovered that we needed girls to play the female roles.  Shakespeare would roll over in his grave.

happily ever after

Original Production on Relationships – Happily Ever After

Thus began my public acting debut.  My acting ability hasn’t improved much from the backyard but now my audience can’t escape to answer the phone which I know wasn’t really ringing Grandma! Our audience is very gracious.  Or their standards are really low  – we’re not really sure which is the case but we’re grateful anyway. Some of our performances are live on stage and some are pre-recorded for the internet.  Using a green screen and pre recording a scene is always an interesting challenge.  And those lights are HOT!  We have to reapply makeup a lot.

wiz green screen

Its an honor to present Biblical principles in such a creative way.  We had other churches around the country request some of our scripts and we’ve been thrilled to share them.   Most of our plays are for the edification of the body of Christ but a few of our shorter skits have a salvation message.  Here is one of our favorites.  It’s part of a series of “rejected skit ideas” called “That will never work”.

Backstage Secrets

If you’re still with me I’ll let you in on a few things the audience doesn’t always know about.

Because we are Christians and can’t undress backstage we have to wear an extra layer of clothes or a body suit under our costumes.

Costume changes backstage usually involve multiple people dressing you and shoving props into your hands – sometimes while you’re walking  towards the curtain to go back on.  Timing is everything.

I once had about 10 quick changes with back to back scenes removing one layer at a time backstage.  We had a wardrobe malfunction and several shirts came off at once so three people were jamming blouses back on me so i could get on stage.

When the actors are on stage saying lines – someone is backstage moving around to match their movements to feed lines through the backdrop if they go blank.

Some of our best gags were accidents that only happened during the final performance and the actors just rolled with it.

Actors cover for each other on stage all the time.  We say each others lines when someone goes blank, we improvise the scene to get them back on track, and we ad-lib to keep the scene moving.

There is an entire choreographed ballet happening backstage during scene changes.  Actors are ducking, flattened against the wall, jammed into the corners or moving with the backdrop to stay hidden.

Sometimes actors miss their cue to go onstage and are literally pushed out by other actors.

If there is music playing on stage – there is dancing happening backstage.

More Secrets Revealed in Part 2

About Calvary Temple

Calvary Temple is an independent church which holds to all Assemblies of God tenets of faith. Calvary Temple ministries include Discipleship Training, adult Bible college, media ministry, and an aggressive missions program.

Pastor Star R. Scott is Senior Pastor of Calvary Temple in Sterling, Virginia, where he has ministered since 1973. In addition to the pastoral gift, Pastor Scott functions in the five-fold offices of apostle and prophet. He has planted churches, and currently oversees the pastors and ministries of numerous satellite churches.

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