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Top right: England performs in Calvary’s 2010 production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Bottom right: England as The Cat in the Hat for Calvary’s 2013 production of Seussical.

“Story is a way to worship.”

Calvary alumnus Kenneth England is taking over the Theatre Department following the retirement of department chair Bobbie Jeffrey. England grew up in rural Illinois and came to Calvary for a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. He said, “I knew that I wanted Bible education and Theatre education. I decided to do the Bible first and Calvary is where my parents attended and where my older sister was a sophomore.” After finishing his degree at Calvary, he earned his MFA in Acting from Purdue.

Theatre has been integral in England’s life for many years. He decided to pursue it as a career while in high school. “I was enraptured with the act of creation involved with theatre. Theatre’s magic captured me… I had never experienced such passion and joy as I did while doing theatre. I decided to take a risk and pursue a career path that I loved and inspired me.”

England started teaching at the undergraduate level while studying at Purdue. In the spring semester of 2020, he joined Calvary’s faculty as an adjunct professor of Theatre Arts. England said when the role of Department Chair opened up, he applied because he believes “Calvary needs a Theatre Department and I want to do what I can to make it successful.” He added that he was invested in the department because of the influence it had on his own spiritual growth. “When I was a student, the department played a huge part in the development of my spiritual life. In fact, many aspects of the faith did not make sense or only became personal to me after I learned to put Christianity in the context of story. I want to be able to provide the opportunity for that same growth to the students.”

As he steps into this new position, England is excited for the opportunities to help students connect their art with their faith and “connect the techniques of theater with Christianity.” He noted that the department is in a time of change, both in leadership and in the transition to a minor-only program. Since the department will only perform one full production per school year, England is looking for more ways to provide opportunities for student led projects. England said story is a powerful method to teach about relationships and connections and understanding the world around us. But ultimately, he said, “Story is a way to worship. God is an artistic God… So, when we engage in art, it is worship.”

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