Mission-focused drama

King’s Players ministry uses drama to spread the gospel across the country

Liberty University’s oldest continuous ministry is The King’s Players, a family-led outreach that began in 1977.

Run by David Allison, the drama ministry has been a part of his life for nearly 40 years.

Having first joined the drama team as a college freshman, Allison now runs the ministry team with his wife, Connie.

The couple has four sons, three of which have been involved in the ministry directly, being cast in various roles and leadership over the years in the company’s plays.

David Allison said that in the coming months, he and his wife plan to pass the mantle of leadership down to their youngest son, Chris, who recently graduated from Liberty with his wife Rachel.

PERFORM— The King’s Players performs the Easter story each year with a cast of students and alumni. Photo provided

PERFORM— The King’s Players performs the Easter story each year with a cast of students and alumni. Photo provided

Chris has worked with the ministry for seven years, performing in a variety of theater roles and in leadership.

Rachel Allison is also heavily involved in The King’s Players and recently penned a play for the group titled “Light in the

Mark and Helen Lloyd founded The King’s Players in 1960 while serving at Asbury University.

The Lloyds had been teaching as faculty members at Asbury and were on the eve of retirement.

Upon retiring, the couple took their budding ministry to Liberty.

“In 1973, Liberty was two years old,” David Allison said.

“There were hardly any faculty with earned Ph.D.’s from accredited schools. … Dr. Lloyd had a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, and he came (to Liberty) and started what’s now the school of communication and he started the speech and English departments.”

Meanwhile, Helen Lloyd focused on writing and directing the plays performed by the drama group. According to David Allison, the ministry performs at an average of 30-50 venues a year.

David Allison began his ministry career while a student himself, performing as a freshman and acting throughout his college career.

At Liberty, Connie Allison serves in the Office of the Provost. In the King’s Players, she serves as the team’s music director.

Ryan and Phillip Allison, their oldest two sons, have served on The King’s Players drama team for at least seven years in their Easter-themed play “Days of Glory.” Ryan Allison played Pontius Pilate while his brother played Jesus.

Both Ryan and Phillip Allison have since moved on and Chris, the youngest, now performs the role of Jesus.

The King’s Players circulates through four different plays over its eight-month season, which spans from September through April.

Three of those plays, “Light in the Darkness,” “Family Outings” and “Which Way” are rotated September through March while “Days of Glory” is performed during three weekends in April.

“Light in the Darkness” by Rachel Allison, is meant to reach out to struggling high school students. Paul McCusker, of Adventures in Odyssey, penned “Family Outings” to target the family-friendly demographic.

The evangelistic program, “Which Way,” was originally written by Mrs. Lloyd. David Allison wrote their Easter musical, “Days of Glory.”

The drama “Days of Glory” is a musical retelling of Jesus’ last week on Earth. The story spans from Jesus’ triumphant entry to his resurrection, and includes the cleansing of the temple and Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.

The play has a large cast and often incorporates alumni, faculty and friends who play extras.

The number of cast and crew varies depending on when and where the play is performed.

At times, the choir has included as many as 110 singers, and its orchestra, 40 performers.

David Allison describes “Days of Glory” as the ministry’s most popular, and said the team performs it at several locations every year.

Most notably, “Which Way” has been performed at many prestigious military bases.

According to David Allison, The King’s Players has performed six times at Fort Lee, four times at Fort Belvoir, and six times at Parris Island.

The ministry is open to students of any major who are interested.

Dodson is a feature reporter.

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