If you’ve seen a theatre production at George Fox, you’re familiar with Wood-Mar Auditorium. This fall, for performances of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, adapted by Kate Hamill, we're changing things up a bit, using the outdoor amphitheater – a performance venue unused since 2021’s Parables.

As the George Fox theatre community adapts to changes in the program, new Artistic Director Ben Tissell has revamped the season to include a summer show, incorporating a larger community, and a new play space.

“If you do a brief survey of theatre history, you’ll see that the art form was born in and blossomed in outdoor spaces," Ben says. "From the biblical communal oral tradition to medieval mystery plays to modern 'Shakespeare in the Park,' theatre has been performed more often outside than inside. There is something beautiful and communal about making theatre under an open sky.”

Amphitheatre set being constructed
The set under construction at the Amphitheater

The cast of Sense and Sensibility includes 10 community actors, several recent George Fox alumni and current students to make up a cast of 18. Charlene Maugeri, an administrative staff member at Fox, is among them. 

“I have been working for George Fox for about nine months, and I wanted to get more involved in the community," she says. "I also love theatre and have done several community theatre productions in the past, but it has been about seven years. I was itching to get back on stage. So when I saw this opportunity, I thought it would perfectly accommodate both of those wishes!”

The last four years have brought about a great deal of change, and our theatre department has felt the effects of those changes deeply. But something about the culture of Fox’s theatre world keeps us from isolation. It causes us to reach out into our community to build and reforge relationships.

“Theatre is for everyone," Ben says. "We enrich our stories when we tell them with a diverse group of people. There are people everywhere who love theatre. We want to create opportunities for them to connect with Fox, collaborating with us to tell stories of faith, hope, and love.”


Among the gossips and British accents, there is a face you won’t be able to miss – that of Chelsea Janzen Williams, who plays Elinore Dashwood. “Austen isn't all tea and crumpets and empire waist dresses," she says. "She writes incredibly detailed and fascinating stories; this particular adaptation by Kate Hamill is just a sheer delight.”

The show opened Aug. 30 and continues this Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (There is also a Saturday 10 a.m. matinee performance). Tickets can be purchased through our Box Office website. Patrons are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on, as there will be sections for both. And if it says it is “sold out,” fear not! There will be plenty more seats to be sold at the door.

Buy tickets

By Emelia Corazza

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