all for One at home

Theater troupe lands at Auer Center

Lauren Nichols, D. Sharon Henderson, photography by Ellie Bogue

Lauren Nichols, D. Sharon Henderson, photography by Ellie Bogue

First, a word of style: the “a” in all for One’s name is, in fact, lowercase. That grammatical style comes from the desire to honor the One, as in Jesus Christ.

These days, all for One is – after 23 years – finally at home in the Parkview Physicians Group ArtsLab Theatre in the Auer Center, in the heart of downtown’s East Main Street Arts Campus. The group began as a touring group, performing sacred and non-sacred plays on a variety of stages before finding its first home at Canterbury High School on Smith Road. Later, it moved to the basement auditorium at the Allen County Public Library.

Now, with the stamp of approval from Arts United, all for One has a home in a uniquely configurable stage. The PPG ArtsLab theater is known as a “black box” theater, where the lines between audience and stage are blurred, as seating arrangements and stage size can be arranged in various configurations of up to 200 seats for the audience.

D. Sharon Henderson, all for One’s executive director, said the group is happy to be at the Auer Center. The group’s first production was May’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” the Jules Verne classic adventure.

“We are looking forward to the opportunities” working with Arts United and the other groups housed at the Auer Center, Henderson said. Artistic Director Lauren Nichols said the venue gives the theater troupe the chance to mount even more ambitious productions.

The 2015-2016 season opens Sept. 18 with “Bend Us,” all for One’s first world-premiere musical. Written by local writer, musician and pastor Dave Frincke, “Bend Us” recounts the 1905 Christian revival movement in Wales, a series of events that changed an entire culture and led to revivals in the United States, according to information provided by all for One. (Audition dates are June 1-2 at First Missionary Church on West Rudisill Boulevard.)

“It’s a lovely story,” Nichols said. “It’s a much bigger story than we would be able to do” before the move to the Auer Center theater.

“We’ve had so much more vision than we’d been able to accomplish” in the past, Nichols added. “I’m excited for the audience!”

Other productions include “The Just So Stories” in November, “Turtle Soup” in February and “Jane Eyre” in April and May of 2016. (The latter production is Nichols’ own adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, which she has been working on for several years.) The group also sponsors an annual young playwrights contest and a summer youth theater camp for kids aged 12-18.

“I think we’ve built a reputation of doing … unusual adaptations of literature. We’re passionate for education,” Nichols said. “I want to do more than entertain. I want (the audience) to have something they can think about forever.”

First appeared in the June 2015 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.

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