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University Theatre presents "Seven Passages" benefit

July 9, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University Theatre returns to the stage with a production that is garnering international attention. "Seven Passages: The Stories of Gay Christians" is back for a single show at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, in York Arena Theatre at the Gilmore Theatre Complex.

Seating is general admission. A $20 suggested donation will help fund the cast's upcoming trip to Canterbury, England, where they've been summoned to perform for Anglican clerics from around the globe. There are no advance ticket sales, but those wishing to attend the performance should RSVP to University Theatre at sevenpassages@gmail.com or (269) 387-3226.

The all-student cast will be in England July 27-Aug. 5, and is scheduled to give two performances of "Seven Passages" at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, which runs through Aug. 4. Led by the archbishop of Canterbury, the three-week summit convenes once every 10 years and brings the leadership of the Anglican church together to consider issues facing the church and pass resolutions on its governance, ministry and engagement in the world. More than 800 archbishops, diocesan, assistant and suffragan bishops are expected to gather this year, and "Seven Passages" is one of just 30 events that were chosen for inclusion in their conference schedules.

The production reveals the true stories of gay and lesbian Christians living in Southwest Michigan. It is the result of interviews conducted over the last five years by local playwright and WMU guest artist Stephanie Sandberg. The production aims to open and facilitate a dialogue with the Christian community and clear a path for reconciliation.

Sandberg directs the company and crew, which includes WMU students Andrea Arvanigian of Portage, Mich., a senior majoring in music theatre performance; Diana Conte of Sterling Heights, Mich., a senior majoring in theatre studies; Brenna C. Cronin of Chicago, a senior majoring in theatre performance; Nathan Gregorski of Scottville, Mich., a senior majoring in theatre performance; Michael Lopetrone of Sterling Heights, Mich., a sophomore majoring in theatre performance; Carmen Molina of Battle Creek, Mich., a junior majoring in theatre performance; Frank Williams of West Bloomfield, Mich., a junior majoring in theatre performance; and Scott Wiltsie of Stevensville, Mich., a sophomore majoring in theatre performance.

WMU's performance of "Seven Passages" at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury is made possible by a generous grant from the Arcus Foundation. For more information, contact Faiz Osman at faiz.r.osman@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3227.

Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, (269) 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

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