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'The Shakers of Mount Lebanon Will Hold a Peace Conference This Month' takes the stage Thursday as part of Big Bridge Theater Consortium efforts

PHOTO COURTESY OF GFU - Playwright Arlene Hutton wrote 'The Shakers of Mount Lebanon Will Hold a Peace Conference This Month,' the latest theatrical production scheduled for performance by the George Fox drama troupe.

George Fox's acting troupe will soon stage a play that has been a long time in the making and will examine how faith can both unite and divide people.

"The Shakers of Mount Lebanon Will Hold a Peace Conference This Month" is part of the Big Bridge Theater Consortium's effort to promote peace and interfaith dialogue after commissioning three playwrights to craft plays dedicated to combating xenophobia, sectarianism and racism in the United States.

In an effort that George Fox and nine other university theater departments have taken on, this play was written by playwright Arlene Hutton and represents the culmination of an effort that began more than a year ago. She is best known as author of "The Nibroc Trilogy."

Hutton's plays have been showcased in venues ranging from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland to off-Broadway in New York and other theaters in the United States and London. Her works have been translated into Dutch, Romanian, Catalan, Bosnian, Hebrew and Portuguese.

The play is directed by GFU theater professor Rhett Luedtke and is the first of the Big Bridge plays to hit the stage locally.

"As a Quaker-led department, we are interested in plays that explore interfaith tensions and peace," Luedtke said. "How do we live with our faithful neighbors and work together, rather than against each other, to further God's kingdom on earth? How do our internal battles in our churches, mosques and synagogues negatively impact our faith and our ability to pursue Shalom together?"

According to a press release from the university, the play "explores the theological battles and internal politics that tear a devout religious community apart even as they plan an international peace conference on their property." It is based on historical events and "mirrors many of the political and theological battles in our current church organizations," the release continued.

The cast includes Hope Bellinger as Ahna, Elyse Bradford as Charlotte, Elizabeth Herbert as Agnes, Araya Glancy as Catherine, Jenny Fournier as Amanda, Graeson Roll as Daniel, Lauren Herman as Sarah, Gabrielle Brinkman as Lillian, Luke Peters as Calvin, Danny Walker as Robert and Isaac Edminster as Earnest.

The play debuts Thursday and continues through Sunday, then again Feb. 6-9. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., except for 2 p.m. matinees set for Sunday and Feb. 9. General admission is $12, $8 for seniors and GFU alumni and $6 for students and children age 12 or younger. They may be purchased at, at the university box office located in the Bruin Store, or in the lobby one hour prior to the production.

Arts & Leisure in briefs

Square dance lessons on tap at community center

Newberg's Valley River Dancers, in conjunction with the Chehalem Park and Recreation District, will offer square dance lessons from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Chehalem Community Center, Second and South Howard streets.

The class includes 12 lessons for teens through seniors at a cost of $68 for adults, $34 for children and payable at the class.

"Square dance is the official dance of Oregon and is fun, great exercise and perfect for people who like to solve puzzles on their feet," organizers said in a press release.

The class will be instructed by Randy Dibble, a renowned caller.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

Symphony will perform at GFU on Feb. 21

The Oregon Symphony will perform a classical concert, conducted by Robert Trevino, at 8 p.m. Feb. 21 in Bauman Auditorium on the campus of George Fox University. A limited amount of free tickets will be available at the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce beginning on Feb. 14.

This is the 33rd year that the symphony has performed in Newberg.

Spring fashion show set for Feb. 7 at church

Little Bird Boutique will present its Valentine Spring 2020 Fashion show from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 7 at Grace Baptist Church, 1619 E. Second St. Inspirational speaker DeAnn Chambers will deliver a talk headlined "When Life Falls Apart" and music will be provided by Ken Cardoza.

"This event is for all the women in Newberg," a press release from the organization said. Organizers ask that attendees make reservations by Feb. 5; entrance is $5.

For more information, call or text Theresa at 503-789-2970 or Jennifer at 503-330-1714.

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