Drama Ministries Ensemble is making some big changes this year. This includes what they are presenting, where they are presenting it and who is presenting it. Positive growth and change are upon the group of 10, and they are optimistic.
The first major change is all the new members. This year, DME only has one returning actor, which is junior Maverick Risley, as well as the same director, theatre professor Jeff Barker. The other seven actors as well as the stage manager are all new to the group.
Some might look at this difference in a negative way, but Barker is optimistic.
“DME is a very special opportunity,” he said. “Traveling with a touring company is a tremendous advantage to any theatre artist; you grow in so many ways, and it is wonderful that so many new team members get to have it.”
Risley also sees the benefits to having so many new members.
“It will be challenging, but I am really excited for the challenge, and I know a lot of people in DME are as well,” Risley said.
Another thing Risley is excited for is the DME tour to New York City. During spring break, the group of 10 will travel to the city to perform, stopping at various churches along the way. While there, they will also get to see a Broadway show.
“I think it’s an awesome opportunity for theatre students to get to go to New York City and see a Broadway show and know that as theatre artists they are part of the culture at large,” Barker said. “This is part of expanding my students’ horizons to help them know the big world.”
Along with those factors, New York City is a special place for the story that they will be presenting: “Sioux Center Sudan”.
Megan Hodgin is a pastor in that area, and she was the stage manager of the first production of “Sioux Center Sudan.” She agreed to let the students perform at the church where she works and will get to see the play again.
“Sioux Center Sudan” is not a type of production that DME works on every year. Typically, the group focuses on presenting scripture, but has occasionally done a show of a story outside of the Bible. Ultimately, the group focuses on stories that show God’s work in the world.
Risley is excited to perform “Sioux Center Sudan” and thinks everyone should see it.
“It’s a retelling of real-life events that happened to a God-fearing woman that some people could never imagine actually happening, and it happened to someone that lives in our backyard basically,” Risley said.
New DME member freshman Karisa Meier is very excited to present “Sioux Center Sudan” as well.
“It’s just a really cool story that doesn’t get told, and we have the opportunity to share that,” Meier said. “You get to see what it’s like to actually be a missionary and how it impacts people. God can use people from tiny towns in Northwest Iowa and help them do cool things in the world.”
The group is passionate about the show they are preparing and are excited for the year, despite all the newness.
DME will be performing at various events throughout the year, sometimes at chapel, and will have a performance of the show for the campus later in the year.
However, as Barker points out, “It’s not just a team for campus. We are interested in helping the church and culture at large.”