The Stained Glass Playhouse is a non-profit community theatre specializing in affordable, professional-quality productions in a small, intimate setting. Located in the former sanctuary of Marvin United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the Stained Glass Playhouse offers productions and theatrical events which encompass moral messages, family values, and community issues.
The former sanctuary of Marvin United Methodist Church was vacated in 1960, when the new (current) sanctuary was built next to it. The origins of the Stained Glass Playhouse lie in the church youth group's Easter and Christmas productions. These were initially performed in the new sanctuary, but of course in order to not interfere with other church activities, the set for these productions had to be constructed and removed on the same day. These limitations were the primary reason to fix up the old sanctuary, to be used for these seasonal productions as well as for concerts by the youth group's members.
Renovations of the old sanctuary were led by a core group of six church members. Over the years, these founding members have been responsible for set building, running lights, writing, directing, singing, acting, and other unseen but very important backstage duties. Currently four of the original core remains active in SGP productions.
The dedication of the Stained Glass Playhouse occurred in 1981, and in its first two year it was the venue for three concerts, a Christmas production "Christmas Gifts," and an Easter drama "Outlaw." The first major production was done in 1983 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church. The musical, "Sand to Stone," was written by Douglas Poorman and directed by Alvin Tyndall, two of the founding members of SGP. The play concerned the faith journey of Simon Peter as his faith changed from sand to stone. The set was designed by another founding member, Paula Webster, and allowed Peter to walk on water, at least for a few seconds. This production showed the versatility of the new space, as the set had a seaside scene, a garden scene and an upper room scene.
Over the next decade, the Playhouse continued to produce youth musicals, original productions, and even dinner theatre. It began to garner attention in the press and attract patrons from the surrounding community, and the space was even rented by outside groups for their use, including Bishop McGuiness High School and Theatre Alliance. In 1995, the Playhouse launched its first Broadway music with "Fiddler On The Roof," which sold out its final weekend.
The Stained Glass Playhouse was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1997, and was granted its 501(c)3 non-profit tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service in June 1998 as a community theatre. It was around this time that the Playhouse settled into the seasonal schedule familiar to most current-day patrons: a popular large-scale summer musical in July/August, followed by three smaller plays in November, February, and April/May. The 2004-2005 season saw each production grow from two weekends to three. In 2008, the Playhouse was admitted into the membership of The Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.
The Stained Glass Playhouse's history reminds us that our lives are, as we sometimes refer to ourselves, "A Stage Without Curtains." We laugh, we cry, we live, and we learn about love, joy and peace, with no curtains to hide behind.
Alvin R. Tyndall is the Artistic Director of the Stained Glass Playhouse. He has performed for the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, the Kernersville Little Theater, the Summer Festival and many other theatrical groups. He is a member of the Center Point Board of Directors and serves as Chairman of Pastor-Parish Relations, Financial Secretary, Trustee and Lay Speaker for Marvin United Methodist Church.
Here at the Stained Glass Playhouse he has directed over twenty plays including 1776, Brigadoon, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Mahalia, Hello Dolly, The Sound of Music (twice), Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Home, A Raisin in the Sun (twice), and Camelot. Favorite roles include Benjamin Franklin in 1776 and King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar.