Hope Theatre presenting 'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever'


The Herdmans will be on their best worst behavior for Hope Theatre's production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" this week. 

Performances will be held Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at Hope House Church. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth 3-12 and can be purchased at the door. 

The production of Barbara Robinson's tale about unruly siblings who take over a Christmas pageant is the first for Hope Theatre. 

Kelsey Martin is co-directing with her brother, Isaiah. The two started a new community theatre program to give youth a safe space to enjoy the arts. 

Most of the 32 people in the cast are acting for the first time.

"We've drawn in people from a lot of different places, not just Walker County. It's been a learning experience for us and for them, but it's coming together here at the end," Kelsey Martin said.

Corner resident Emily Owens, who will be portraying Grace, the mother, is one of the few cast members who has acting experience. She was active in Corner Theatre Academy while attending Corner High School but was feeling burned out by the time she graduated in 2017.

"It's been so much more relaxing doing it for fun and not as a job. It's been a much more joyful experience," Owens said.

Fellow church member Izzie Murray asked Owens to audition with her in August. Owens was originally given the part of Mrs. Armstrong but was later recast as Grace when Kelsey Martin stepped aside to focus on directing.

Izzie, a fourth grader at Carbon Hill Elementary School who has performed in school plays like "The Wizard of Oz," was cast as Gladys Herdman, who famously makes a scene during the Christmas pageant. 

Hope House Church is located at 1602 10th Avenue in Jasper.