King’s Players celebrate 50th anniversary

FOR THE KING — The King’s Players theater ministry has traveled to military bases and to detention centers to share their message.

What started out as a humble evangelical theater troupe is now Liberty’s oldest ministry, seeing 200 people on average dedicate their lives to Christ each year, according to Dr. David Allison, current director of the King’s Players.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the King’s Players. Dr. Mark Lloyd and his wife Mrs. Helen Lloyd, the donors of the Lloyd Auditorium, created the ministry in spring 1960 at Cascade College. The original production “told the story of the ministry and martyrdom of missionaries … in the Oregon Territory,” according to the King’s Players website.

Throughout the 50 years, the group has expanded beyond just evangelical plays, according to Allison.

“Our focus is winning more for the Lord. We still do evangelical plays for our main target audience. However, now we also perform encouraging and edifying plays for believers,” Allison said.

This year, the King’s Players will be traveling to prisons, youth detention schools and military bases to share the Gospel. Allison hopes to have more military bases book the group. The ministry strongly values the need for the men and women protecting our country to hear about true salvation.

“We’ve had hundreds of Marines hear the gospel, get saved, then deployed to battle weeks later,” Allison said. “Nothing is at random chance. God is clearly at work.”

On top of their evangelical work, Allison is highly anticipating Easter 2011. According to their schedule, the King’s Players will be performing the play “Days of Glory” for four different churches, each with live orchestras and choirs. Described on the King’s Players website, the play depicts the final days of Jesus’ ministry on earth from the last supper to the resurrection.

The King’s Players has been a traveling ministry since its creation, as stated on their website. Trips all over North America have led the group to Mexico, Florida, even restricted access Parris Island Marine base, according to Allison.
“I loved visiting Dr. and Mrs. Lloyd’s home in Sun Valley, Idaho. It was so beautiful there,” Teresa Woolridge, who served on the ministry for three years, said. “I also enjoyed [watching] the Grunion Fish jumping onto the beach in San Diego.”

Wooldridge auditioned for the King’s Players in 1979 and served on the ministry until 1982. Despite being often cast as “the older woman” Woolridge is thankful Helen Lloyd allowed her on the team.

“[When] I went to her office to try out, she had me read a bit from Shakespeare. I was horrible,” Woolridge said. “She kindly told me that she liked my desire to do this and because of that, I could join the team.”

Since her time in King’s Players, Woolridge feels like she has lived a very full life. Married with three children, she has been teaching French for 30 years. Woolridge and her husband lived in Paris, France for two years and just recently moved back. She now teaches at both Liberty and Rustburg High School.

According to Allison, the King’s Players ministry is also preparing for overseas missions. The goal would be to not only create plays that are culturally relevant to the citizens, but also spoken in the native language.

“Haiti is going to be one of my first projects,” Allison said. “We would like to open up trips like these to current participants and alumni of King’s Players.”

According to Woolridge, her time in the ministry became more than just acting.

“My teammates were my family while I was involved,” Woolridge said. “They helped me to become the confident and strong person I am today. I can’t say enough about how important and wonderful of a ministry this is.”

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EDWARDS is a feature reporter.

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