Bloomin’ Church, a Methodist play in Plymouth

14 September 2023

The latest play by Anne Middleton, the Performing Arts Mission Enabler for the Plymouth and Devonport Methodist circuit and a unique role within the Connexion, will be performed from 18 to 21 October 2023 at the Devonport Playhouse in Plymouth.

A year after her first play, Passion, delayed due to Covid-19, Anne Middleton wrote another play inspired by her faith and tradition. Bloomin’ Church centres around a fictional church called Hope Methodist and its devoted leader, Reverend Dan Fisher. The play sheds light on the church and its congregation, showcasing their inspiring lives.

Though all the characters are fictitious, Anne does have a background in the Methodist Church through her faith, her job and her minister husband. “There are a lot of real experiences in there and a bit of me in every character,” says Anne.

Using her personal experiences and knowledge, she hopes to “Open up the walls of the church and give an authentic glimpse of a Methodist congregation. I have done it in a way that enables people to step back and have a look at what's happening in church and how God is encouraging us to reach out to the local community.”

Brought to life by a cast of seven professional actors with a couple of featured extras, the play is wholesome. It aims to uplift its audience and bring people a sense of connection through humour and performing arts.

Starting her role as the Performing Arts Mission Enabler just before the pandemic hit, Anne had to adapt and quickly learn how to think outside the box which led to collaborations with musicians, artists and the creation of videos. These experiences are translated in the play as “Each of the core characters has a space for a dream scene. That might be a song, a dance number, a poem or a movement piece,” adds Anne.

Even though the play is a big part of Anne’s work with the writing, the intensive two weeks of rehearsal and almost a full week of performances, she organises other activities to bring the circuit together for worship through creative content. Passionate about performance and engagement, Anne was a member of the Lost in Wonder team who participated in the Edinburgh Fringe last August.

About once a month, from February to July, she hosts a Hope Theatre Café in which she invites professional Christian performers – musicians, theatre companies, poets and even magicians – to talk about their work and their passions. “It is a non-threatening, not pressuring, professional space where people can bring friends who maybe do not go to church but they can come and hear a message of hope,” concludes Anne.

Find out more about the play here.