April 6 – 8 at 7 PM
April 8 at 2:30 PM
Red Deer Memorial Centre (4214-58 St. Red Deer, Alberta)
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A Note from the Playwright
Four fascinating figures from our recent past take to the stage in What We Didn’t Know. They stand in the long and generous shadow cast by the Cross, which towers over all history, compelling people from all ages and persuasions to seek a glory and purpose greater than themselves.
In 1794, as William Wilberforce rose to a prominent place in English society as an MP from Yorkshire, he underwent what he referred to as a “Great Change”. This newfound, personal faith in God led him to take a detour from idle pursuits to strategically campaign in the British House of Commons for the end of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the end of slavery itself. He also worked tirelessly to reform society so much so that he is described as “the most successful social reformer in the history of the world.”
In a parallel arc throughout the early 1800s but in a different sphere, Wilberforce’s close friend Hannah More shared a similar faith and was a bridge into fashionable society, the who’s-who of artists, academics and influencers in the England of her day. Rather than cashing in on her social capital for personal gain, More used her quick wit and wielded her pen to help re-write social norms in ways that transformed Western society. To this day we remain indebted to her for helping to create cultural appetites for universal education, charitable giving, the humane treatment of animals and the abolition of slavery.
In 1887 Rosalind Goforth put her promising art career on hold and chose to serve God in China alongside her risk-taking preacher for a husband, Jonathan Goforth. Five of their eleven children died on the mission field and the family barely escaped the Boxer Rebellion with their lives and limbs intact. Rosalind’s quick response to a brutal famine in China through a letter published in the world’s major news publications saved countless lives and opened a way for her to write books that influenced countless more.
In 1924 Eric Liddell stunned the world when he refused to participate in a Sunday heat to qualify for the 100 metre sprint finals at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, where he was favoured to win the gold medal. He further shocked the world when he won gold in the 400 metre. Yet it was his decision to give his life to missions in China, where he died in a Japanese internment camp during World War II while separated from his wife and young girls—one whom he’d never meet on this earth—that would leave the most astonishing legacy of his celebrated life.
What We Didn’t Know gives four snapshots from the lives of four inspiring historical figures. The frame around each of these snapshots is another consequential decision made on that first Easter, a decision which not only still inspires and empowers, but makes sense of every act of Christian love, sacrifice and faith made ever since.
I hope this unique drama inspires you to learn more about the four important people featured on the stage, and that it refreshes your belief that risks of faith will do more and mean more than you could ever know.
What We Didn’t Know is the fourth play in a series of commissions Andrew has written to benefit the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre. The previous plays include 3 Monologues, That Towering Cross and After Hymn!. The plays have helped raise more than $250,000 for charity.