William Jessup University’s award-winning theatre department proudly announces its first-ever, socially-distanced live theatre show with a simultaneous drive-in theatre experience. While most live theatre venues are currently dark, Jessup is hard at work producing “Bethlehem,” an original, full-length rock opera about the nativity story. Written by Jessup Theatre Department Chair, Derek Martin, this story centers around Christ as the anchor of hope in turbulent times.
In order to entertain as many patrons as possible, especially during the holiday season, they decided to produce a full-length professional media experience (similar to Hamilton on Disney Plus). The production will utilize both staff and students, allowing students to learn alongside their professional mentors. It will be delivered drive-in movie theatre style on the Jessup campus. The unique drive-in experience will give patrons the opportunity to attend an event and connect with others safely from their cars. Churches and households will also have access to the movie through online links.
“There is something powerful when we experience the same story, in one place, at a single moment in time. It binds us together and that is the power of theatre,” said Jennifer Martin, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences-Visual and Performing Arts Division. “We are trying to facilitate a much-needed sense of community, while safely apart, in a new way, for a new time, with a new beat, on a familiar story.”
Students will learn how to produce and deliver new work in an innovative format. By doing a live show, a drive-in movie theatre experience, and delivering “Bethlehem” to local churches and households, theatre students will not only practice their theatre skills, but they will also deliver the story of Emmanuel, God with us, to the community.