Friday, October 29, 2004

Jubilee Troupe

Sick of the choke of political messages being thrown around these days? Me too! Feel a little disempowered? Sometimes, me too. Want to do something...something BEYOND politics, something practical and yet intensely creative and deeply spiritual? I am about to share something that is maybe the craziest serious invitation you've had since... well, since a long time.

Ready? Here goes...

The Jubilee Troupe. We are a group of fairly young adults (23-31), mostly Anabaptist, mostly Brethren, seeking to introduce new forms of sacred arts to churches, church-related events and colleges with themes of reconciliation in the year 2005. Jubilee. According to Leviticus, it only happens once every 49 years. So this is your once-in-a-generation chance to be part of something, well, on the edge. Curious? Read on...

Several years ago, a few young adults in the Church of the Brethren had an idea to take groups like JOYA and the Youth Peace Travel Team once step further. What would it be like if we developed and incorporated some radically new forms of interactive drama and dance into worship? What would it look like if we shared that with others? How could the church be changed with this kind of infusion of creative energy? How could WE be tranformed in the process of creating our own little creating-community?

We first came together a year after this first sprouted, at the Organizing for Peace Conference (of On Earth Peace) this past March: Shalom Black, Christina Cruz, Myra Martin Adkins, Gloria Newton, Chris Palsgrove and me. Since then we've performed or led worship at four four events from Washington, DC to California. We've explored a theater improvisation form called Playback Theater, with sharing and stories from an audience, and we've used a simple, powerful form of sacred "dance" based on improvising simple movement and physical contact. At the heart of our work and play has been a central theme - expressing the creating, renewing, reconciling Spirit of God through our bodies.

Since March we have changed personalities a few times. New folks have joined, shared their gifts, explored creative work and play together...others have tended to other pastures. And that's one of the reasons i am writing you. We are looking for new blood, searching, passionate, gifted, creative, curious, questioning folks with presense...not necessarily an opportunity for professional actors or dancers...i consider it more of a CALL, a call to share of yourself, express the raw Spirit in you and ultimately perform in that Spirit.

So i have a few invitations for you and your community...if you've read this far:

CONSIDER inviting the Jubilee Troupe to your church, your community, your college. We are seeking invitations for this wandering band of neo-minstrels beginning February 2005. The Troupe offers several exciting workshops alongside worship-full performances and contributions to worship services. We consider ourselves in the ancient tradition essentially, "Revival." Would you or your community be interested in that kind of energy? See more on the program page of the Jubilee Troupe website.

CONSIDER also attending our first training on the weekend of January 7-9, 2005 in New Windsor, MD. It is open to all interested - young and old, committed or just curious, from any background or artistic persuasion. We are shaping a weekend for getting in touch with our joyful and quiet selves, playing with drama and movement, sharing stories and devotional time together. Consider coming - whether or not you would consider being part of an ongoing "troupe." And even if you'd like to come but can't make this one, email a response or register your interest here.

FINALLY, CONSIDER being part of the Troupe itself. Could that be in your calling? Want to know more about it? Write back or call me up and let's talk! Our various members have various commitments - from traveling half the spring and summer, to only occasional, more convenient involvement for those of us with other jobs, studies and commitments.

And as a postscript, maybe someone you know is searching for that call, someone open, eager, curious, expressive, passionate about Life... so pass this on! This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity!

chris fitz

Jubilee Troupe primary sponsor: On Earth Peace Assembly

Other sponsors:
Church of the Brethren Witness Office
New Community Project
Brethren Peace Fellowship
Advisory Group:
  • Barb Sayler, co-director of On Earth Peace, Inc. (MD)
  • David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project (IL)
  • Lee Krähenbühl, theater coach, professor of communications, Manchester College (IN)
  • Arlene Kiely, director of the Dumbarton Playback company (MD/DC)
  • Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness Office (DC)
  • Matt Guynn, trainer, program associate, On Earth Peace (IN)
  • Paul Grout, visual artist, former pastor of Genesis Church of the Brethren (VT)
  • Chris Fitze, improvisational actor, technical theater director (ME)
  • Jessica Eller, activist, mediator, Portland Friends Meeting (ME)
  • Ruth Aukerman, visual artist, teacher and activist (MD)
Jubilee Troupe 2004-2005
  • Shalom Black, Catholic University PhD candidate (DC)
  • Christina Cruz, poet, Goshen College graduate (PA)
  • Christopher Fitz, dancer, actor, Troupe director (PA)
  • Rachel Koontz, actor, dancer, Goshen College graduate (IN)
  • Myra Martin-Adkins, actor, student, Manchester College (IN)
  • Gloria Newton, artist in residence, Center for Anabaptist Leadership (CA)
  • Chris Palsgrove, actor, technician at McDaniels College (MD)
  • Tabea Steinbeisser, spiritual midwife, musician (Germany)
Christopher Fitz

The Jubilee Troupe
888-228-4491 tel.

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