courtesy Blue Gate Theater
Published March 16, 2018
America’s favorite faith-based theaters share a common purpose: to present stories in a captivating way that leaves audiences encouraged and uplifted.
They each have their strengths: epic musicals, a thrilling version of Christ’s Passion, dinner with a show. But whatever the form, these theaters are proud to be a safe place for groups of all ages.
Jeff Conn, who inspires audiences through comedy shows at his Amish Country Theater, expressed the joy of entertaining in a way where no one cringes at off-color scenes on the stage.
“One of my favorite compliments is when three generations come up to me and say they all loved the show: the grandparents, the parents and the 6- to 7-year-old kids,” Conn said. “That’s a fun accomplishment, to be a place where you can bring the whole family.”
Here are five faith-based theaters sure to please your church travel group.
Amish Country Theater
When Conn and his family opened their small comedy barn in Ohio’s Amish country, they wondered whether their sketches would be funny enough to keep people coming back for more.
Turns out, they’re quite funny.
After six years of sold-out shows and laughing crowds, the Amish Country Theater will open its next season May 15 in a new 600-seat theater connected to a similarly themed 81-room hotel and event space. The theater is in Berlin, Ohio, less than five miles from the previous location.
“We had run out of space, and this opportunity just opened up,” Conn said. “We’ve built the theater so that everyone has a great seat, and the hotel ensures that groups don’t have trouble finding a place to stay and get a great Amish breakfast in the morning.”
The theater draws inspiration from Disney World and the Comedy Barn at Pigeon Forge. A cast of characters welcomes guests to a country theater that looks like a barnyard, complete with a water tower extending through the roof.
The new season will open with two live variety shows filled with characters, comedians, bluegrass music and crowd favorite ventriloquist Ken Groves. Some of the best acts include audience members getting plucked from their seats to take part in the fun.
“With groups, we’re always looking to get the class clown on stage,” Conn said. “We’re not going to embarrass you, but you’re gonna have a whole lot of fun.”