AMHERST – Dance numbers are being rehearsed and lines being memorized in preparation for tomorrow night’s showing of ‘One day on a dessert island’, a play put on by the First Baptist Church youth group as part of their annual dessert theatre.
“This is our 22nd year,” said First Baptist Church youth minister Don Miller. “We do about three dessert theatres every two years.”
Miller said many wonderful things come together in the basement of the First Baptist Church and he gets to see it every Monday night.
“The people of this community for the last 20 years have sent me their young people, so I’ve had the privileged of that lovely job,” he said. “I wanted to do something to get to know them and put youths in a positive light.”
To Miller, the best way to get to know the youth better was to put together a dessert theatre. With his background in theatre arts from Dalhousie University, Miller put his enthusiasm behind it and the idea took off.
“When I entered the ministry, I was under the assumption that I wouldn’t do very much drama anymore but I ended up doing a lot more because of the way it helped me connect with the young people,” he said.
Over the year, Millers said he has not only seen youths from his own congregation come in to create a new play each year, but he’s also attracted youth from Catholic Churches and Anglican Churches as well.
“It’s a lovely community youth group and it’s become very special,” he said. “I know it’s special when kids who were in the youth group 20 years ago still have fond memories of Monday nights and the fun that took place in this church basement.”
One of those youth from 20 years ago was Natalie Miller (then Humphrey) who now acts as Miller’s assistant. She was one of the members of the youth group to put on the very first dessert theatre.
“As a kid, it was fun, a way to be involved,” she said. “Now, it’s just great. I love being here and working with the kids in a different capacity. It’s a lot of fun getting to know them and all the craziness that goes on.”
Youth group member Thomas Keagan has been involved in the church’s youth group and dessert theatre productions for many years and keeps coming back for more.
“It’s a place where everyone comes, people you normally wouldn’t hang out with (from school) comes together and everyone is one big group that gets along,” said Keagan. “It’s our own little group instead of all these cliques and stuff like what you would have in school. Dessert theatre is just the best. You get to endure stresses with these people but they’re good stresses like rushing to get your costume on.”
This year’s play is called ‘One day on a desserted island.’ Miller, who wrote the play, said the two main characters become stranded on an island.
“If you’re familiar with the dessert theatre, it’s basically a bunch of skits,” said Miller. “This year, October is anti-bullying month and I wrote a play a while ago about bullying but I wanted to take it a step further, so I’ve approached it in a dramatic way. The first half is foolish, we stuff the audience full of dessert and then give them something to think about.”
The play opens tomorrow night at the First Baptist Church at 8 p.m. and runs until Sunday, Oct. 28. Tickets are $15 and available through the church at 667-2001.