"We believe in reaching out to those who are in need, because that is what Jesus did for us when He paid for our sins by His death and resurrection. "
Compassion is our final core value (although we may add in a fifth sometime), but is by no means the last in importance. It is just as integral to our organization and how we go about running our program as Beauty, Brokenness, and Freedom. In many ways they are all tied together: because of the beauty of Christ's love we seek to display that love through compassion to others; compassion is needed because of the brokenness of the world; and, compassion is effective because freedom can be achieved.
But how do theatre and compassion work together?
In Workbook One of The Sanford Meisner Approach, Larry Silverberg maintains that real theatre can heal the world "because real theatre springs from love". From a Christian perspective I don't believe that healing ultimately come through the stage, but I do believe that God can use the theatre to bring about healing in people's lives.
Because of the way that theatre can reflect the joys and pains of life, watching theatre can work like a good counseling session. It provides some distance from the actual wound that one has experienced and gives some perspective. I've seen this many times in my life when a theatre production has moved me towards healing.
We hope that our staff, actors, and patrons feel loved through our shows. We want there to be a positive experience through the productions. But we also focus on compassion in a more direct means.
In 2005 my Mother was inspired to support local charities through our productions. That has become apart of the foundation of what we do as a theatre. Our actors know that they are not doing this for their own glory. They are doing this to raise money for these people who are hurting and need compassion so they can find the freedom to be able to enjoy the beauty that exists in the world. Since that time we've raised over $140,000 dollars to aid the Allentown Rescue Mission, CareNet, Truth for Women, and this spring we'll be giving to the Restoration Life Center.
It's been an amazing, overwhelming, and humbling experience to be apart of something that is able to give back to the community, not only artistically, but financially.
We've been asked at times why we give all the money raised to the charities. It's been suggested that from a business perspective keeping a percentage of that makes more sense. At some point, that may come, though I hope not. It's been a very good for us as a group to practice sacrificial compassion. Giving away all of the donations from the show requires faith that God will provide for our needs as a theatre company. And He has; God has been incredibly faithful. And I trust and hope that our organization will always be able to run our shows as straight compassion-driven productions.
That is how compassion is intertwined with our theatre company and in many other theatre companies in the valley as well. We are not the only ones who donate to charities. I love the atmosphere of theatre. Everything about it, when done rightly, is a gift. Art can be an act of compassion and that's the kind of atmosphere we want at POTS.