Sarah Morton with Forever: An Easter Story actors


Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Brenton Stacey
About the Author

Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

Why this alumna wants to be part of your Easter plans

An Avondale alumna credits a First Nations elder from Morisset for inspiring the world premiere of a revolutionary story of love, compassion and mercy.

Sarah Morton (BEd, 1996) sat in a yarning circle with the elder who spoke about how telling and hearing stories helps us connect more deeply with each other. “Drama is all about telling stories and I wanted to bring that into musical theatre,” says Sarah, who has now founded Another Story Theatrical.

Her first production under the new moniker is Forever: An Easter Story. It gives voice to Bible characters—Yosef of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene—grappling with their humanity and the transformative power of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. We asked why, as creative director, she chose to tell this story.

The Bible tells us more about Mary Magdalene than Yosef of Arimathea. You describe him as a Pharisee “steeped in the legalistic faith of the Sanhedrin” who “begins to shed the confines of rigid tradition when he sees the transformation of Mary’s life.” Tell us more about his transformation.
I’ve written Yosef as one who, with faith so fresh, doesn’t have the courage to put a stop to the miscarriage of justice that leads to the crucifixion of Jesus. In Forever, we see Yosef and fellow Pharisee Nicodemus at the tomb talking about how devastated they are. But Yosef says he will be the one to bury Jesus because he wants to do for him in death what he was too afraid to do in life: stand up and be counted.

What about the relationship between Mary and Yosef? She seems to make a big impact on him. Are you reversing the typical biblical gender roles?
Absolutely. We see Mary at three points in her life. Mary as a child is deeply troubled—she’s twitching, hearing voices. Yosef connects with Mary and they become friends. He reconnects when Mary’s a teenager, hurting and disillusioned with the church. When Yosef connects again, Mary’s at peace, and he wants to know why. She says it’s Jesus’ love, compassion and mercy, a freedom that contrasts with the legalism of his faith. She invites him to come and hear Jesus’ message himself.

With The Story this past year and now Forever, you’re bringing people to church over the holidays. Why is it important to present these musicals not the weekend before but the weekend of Easter?
Because it’s one of the few times in a year when Christianity is accepted and, almost, embraced by an increasingly secular society. So, why not use the platform Easter presents to tell the greatest story ever told in an accessible and meaningful way.

What can we expect to see—and hear?
An original story—you won’t have seen or heard this story told in this way before.

An intergenerational cast—we have incredibly talented children, teenagers, young adults and adults.

High-quality fine music—I have the privilege of working with Avondale Conservatorium director Dr Aleta King. She’s conducting a seven-piece ensemble featuring some of the best musicians in our community and rehearsing with stellar vocalists.

And powerful lyrics from popular worship songs—these help tell the divine impact on a human experience.

Juxtaposing fine music covers of popular worship music will be phenomenal.

What about Forever are you most anticipating?
Seeing how the creative expression of this significant Christian story moves people. I’m already getting a sense of what impact Forever is making on the cast and crew. The audience is next.

I didn’t go looking for a task that takes hundreds of hours to produce, but it has made an impact on me—reigniting my passion for storytelling. It’s become a hugely fulfilling part of the dramatic life I lead.

Photograph: Creative director Sarah Morton with Forever: An Easter Story cast members Sarah Tucker and Michael Edgren. Credit: Brenton Stacey.

Forever: An Easter Story

Forever begins Friday! Tickets from $30.

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