Many who attend Ascension have become so accustomed to passing the Saltworks’ offices in our education wing hallway that we forget that many don’t know what Saltworks is. So, what is Saltworks and why does Ascension promote what they do?
Saltworks is a theater company for kids that was birthed by members of Ascension, notably the Archdeacon of our Diocese, the Rev. Mark Stevenson, in 1981. The company has been headquartered in various places since then, but in 2005 Saltworks returned to Ascension and uses our facility for children’s acting classes (spring and fall), rehearsals for their school touring group and productions.
Here is a glimpse into some of what Saltworks does:
- School Assemblies – Saltworks has a yearly troop of 5 young adult actors that perform in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the Western Pennsylvania region on a DAILY basis, including Pittsburgh Public Schools and many other districts. The big white van in our parking lot is used for that purpose as the troop goes out to perform live theater on topics such as bully prevention, abuse of opioids and heroin, internet safety, substance abuse and peer pressure. Video clips of the performances can be found at saltworks.org. They’re good! Parents of school-aged children may want to recommend Saltworks to their school administrators.
- Young Actor’s Studio – This is an opportunity for young actors (school-aged kids) to stretch their performance skills to new levels. Saltworks offers evening acting classes fir kids (spring and fall), with opportunities to perform classic musical theater, adaptations of popular children’s books, and even original works. In a typical year, the Young Actor’s Studio has a fall and spring production. Stuart Little is the 2018 spring production of the Young Actor’s Studio.
- Saltworks Players – Seasoned actors are brought together to present stories of faith that are performed in churches throughout the region, including here at Ascension. In the past few years the shows have included the Gospel of Mark, The Book of Ruth, The Foolish Wiseman, The Book of Jonah, and several others. As the Saltworks website states: “We view Scripture as the best and foremost script for telling a story and we have enjoyed our adventure in performing it.” Several years back a powerful performance entitled ‘Shadowlands’, a story about C.S. Lewis’ experience of God as he walked through the loss of his wife, was performed here at Ascension. It starred Tim Hartman and included our own Jim Wilson (whose daytime job is with the Department of Justice) in a lead role.