The Whitmore selfie challenge

It’s time for the Whitmore selfie challenge!

Surely you can do better than this selfie!

During the run of Church & State BAT challenges you to take a selfie with Senator Whitmore. Post your selfie on facebook saying you attended Church & State and tag Burien Actors Theatre (@burienactorstheatre). Every week through May 20, BAT will choose the selfie it likes the best and the person posting it will receive a BATcoin worth $5.00.

BATcoin are both new and rare. HERE IS THE STORY ABOUT BATcoin. Be the first on your block to get one, and then spend one. Take the Whitmore selfie challenge!


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An open letter to the Federal Way City Council

Dear Council,

I am the artistic director at Burien Actors Theatre,

BAT is a small 94-seat theater located in Burien. In May of 2017, the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington conducted a study of BAT’s economic impact on the City of Burien. Over and above ticket purchases, BAT adds over $141,000.00 annually to the City of Burien’s economy. That is $22.27 per participant. BAT does that with a budget of about $100,000.00 per year. (These are not National numbers, these are numbers from a city just north of Federal Way.)

Undoubtedly, Centerstage Theatre Arts Conservatory, with its larger house, and a bigger budget, a greater number of productions, and outreach adds significantly more to the economy of Federal Way. Theater-goers tend to eat and drink at a restaurant near the theater so they are not caught in traffic and miss the show.

Live theater is not a zero-sum game. Great theater in Federal Way, like that produced by Centerstage, adds to the success of better live theater in Burien and other performing arts in surrounding areas. Therefore, although I am not a resident of Federal Way, your decision about renewing Federal Way’s contract with Centerstage directly impacts BAT and the health of all the arts in South King County and North Pierce County.

Lately, there has been much discussion about how compared to Seattle, South King County is an arts desert. One of the bright spots in that desert, that casts a better light on Federal Way and South King County, is Centerstage. BAT has been impressed with the quality of work produced by Centerstage. In a very good way, Centerstage’s high standards have kept BAT on its toes. Continue reading

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Church & State in tech

Church & State is in tech rehearsal. It opens Friday, April 27 at 8 pm. GET YOUR TICKET HERE

Church & State is the last show of BAT’s 2017-18 season. BAT will be back in October with Dr. Frankenstein by Selma Dimitrijevic, This is not your father’s Frankenstein. Victoria Frankenstein and her articulate monster will forever change how you look at this classic story.

But before this season ends, there is Church & State. This wonderful script is, unfortunately, all too relevant.

One of the storylines is what happens to a Republican Senator after there is a shooting at his child’s school. Timely.

Yes, the script is great. But it would be nothing without BAT’s directors, actors, and creative team. The look, feel, and storytelling in this show is, well, powerful. Oddly though, it is also a very funny show. A dramedy, if you will.

Tech week is when all of the work of the creative team comes together. Yes, tweaks are often necessary, but to see a show go from five or six people, who have been working in relative solitude, let the rest of us into their world is a process that never ceases to amaze me. You can taste the creativity in the air. You can feel the cold breath of live theater against the back of your neck. It is days like this when you can see why, after years of predicting the death of live theater, theater remains so powerful and alive.

Marshall McLuhan said, ”The medium is the message.” That axiom is nowhere more apparent than with better live theater. There is nothing more immediate, real, and powerful than live theater. Church & State will get you to smile and laugh, but more importantly, you will not leave the theater without being touched.

Join BAT. Be amazed. You will not be disappointed.

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Church & State press release

BAT’s production of the comedy-drama Church & State is a look at what can happen when religion, guns and social media mix it up with politics and honesty. Performances run April 27 through May 20.

BAT’s production, of a wonderful script written by Jason Odell Williams, features specialty drinks themed to the show and plenty of free on-site parking, plus an opening night party.


Three days before Charles Whitmore’s Senate re-election, he decides to finally tell the public exactly what’s on his mind, no filter. What could possibly go wrong? This look at how religion, guns and social media influence our political system is simultaneously funny, heartbreaking and uplifting.

Church & State is a Best New Play Nominee with both the Off-Broadway Alliance and L.A. Ovation Awards. This is the Northwest premiere. “Subtle and gripping entertainment… Jason Odell Williams is a postmodern Clifford Odets” – LA Times. “A crackling script! I wish every member of Congress could see it!”…..NPR Continue reading

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Church & State Artistic Director notes

Church & State ends a very fulfilling season at BAT. From year-to-year, BAT’s work only improves. As you are enjoying Church & State, BAT is working on its 2018-19 season, which we guarantee will amaze.

When BAT selected Church & State no one had heard of Parkland. That terror was not even on the horizon. Sadly, that event makes this play even more timely.

After Parkland, it is easy to focus on the discussion of gun control in Church & State, but this play is about so much more. It is about the love between a couple, the acceptance of an outsider to run a campaign, being true to yourself despite your ambition, being underutilized manifesting itself through drinking, which turns into real power and taking a stand. It also asks the question, Do horrific events bring us closer to God, or push us further away?

As you are drawn into the world of Senator Whitmore don’t forget to enjoy the nuances of the relationships you see. In that world, like our own, nothing is simple or clear-cut.

A special thanks to Maggie and Rochelle who brought this play to life, and to the cast and creative team who took their vision and created the world you see on stage.

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A dinner and show winner

BAT is very happy to have joined with Frankie’s B-Town Bistro to offer a dinner and show package.  If you tried it, you’ll know how wonderful the combination of good food and better live theater can be. If you haven’t tried it, what’s holding you back?

It turns out that it is not just BAT who likes Frankie’s B-Town Bistro, the patrons of OpenTable voted Frankie’s B-Town Bistro, one of the very best places to eat. Check it out!

Church & State opens on April 27, 2018, at 8 pm, followed by a four-week run. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy a great deal, dinner and a show for just $35.00! Dine at Frankie’s B-Town Bistro and we’ll see you at a show!

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Script Club – April 2018

On Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 1:30 p.m., Burien Actors Theatre’s Script Club will meet at Merrill Gardens.

This is a FREE event, and everyone is invited!

This month BAT’s script club will be discussing the script for BAT’s next production, Church & State. TICKETS TO THE SHOW HERE.

It’s three days before Charles Whitmore’s Senate re-election and he’s decided to finally tell the public exactly what’s on his mind, no filter. What could possibly go wrong, particularly when faith, politics, gun control and ‘The Twitter’ mix it up? This is a Northwest premiere.

Church & State is a dramedy. That is a play that combines elements of drama and comedy. (Think Ben Butler from earlier in BAT’s season.) Read the script and then come discuss how well this dramedy works.

BAT’s script club is led by BAT’s own Faith Beatty. BAT’s Script Club reads and talks about a different script every month. It meets on the third Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at Merrill Gardens. (Thank you Merrill Gardens for being such a kind host!)

If you can’t find the script BAT will be reading, BAT is happy to supply a script. They are either plays BAT is producing, scripts BAT is considering producing, or scripts BAT finds to be interesting and worthy of a read and discussion. Typically, the script is also located in BALL (Burien Actors Lending Library), located in Phoenix Tea in downtown Burien. (There are two copies of Church & State in BALL right now.)

To learn more about theater, or to enjoy a script, BALL is the place to go. While you are there, relax with a fine cup of tea!

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Students affected by school shootings

Church & State (opening April 27 at BAT) is called a dramedy for a very good reason. Combined with humor, it looks at some very topical issues.

One of the things Church & State does is give a balanced discussion about gun control issues. In the show, there has been a shooting at the school Senator Whitmore’s child attends.

In reality, how many school children are affected by gun violence? More than you might think. “Beginning with Columbine in 1999, more than 187,000 students attending at least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus during school hours, according to a year-long Washington Post analysis.” The Washington Post, March 21, 2018.

In light of what is going on in the United States today, I don’t see how you can miss Church & State. TICKETS

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A pig in a poke

During Rapture, Blister, Burn (just ended) BAT had the opportunity to secure the rights to its October 2018 show with one caveat. The agent wanted the funds now, or BAT could not secure the rights to the show.

For many reasons, BAT could not disclose the name of the show until the royalties were paid. So, in the curtain speech, BAT asked for money to pay the royalties of an undisclosed show that would only be produced if enough patrons donated. (To sweeten the deal, a BAT trustee agreed to match the money other patrons donated, but still . . . )

BAT’s patrons stepped up to produce better live theater. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

BAT secured the rights to the show! We’ll be announcing it soon.

Two things about this amaze. First, BAT’s patrons raised the royalties. The kindness that flows from BAT’s patrons never ceases to amaze. They make BAT smile all the time.

Second, BAT donors contributed to the rights to a show we could not name. Truly, they bought a pig in a poke. It was a leap of faith.

BAT likes to think this is tangible proof that BAT patrons like the shows BAT produces. That makes BAT happy.

BAT takes risks. It does not often do one of the “classics” of small theater. BAT produces shows because they are good scripts which speak to the times we live in, and they often have a comic element. (Life is hard after all.) But that means BAT does not always do shows with name recognition. (This is part of why BAT formed its script club and BALL – Burien Actors Lending Library, so people can familiarize themselves with the scripts before the show if they are interested in that.)

BAT is looking forward to seeing you at its next show, Church & State, opening April 27, 2018. A shows that is all too timely. TICKETS

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Beyond plays at BAT

BAT is a nonprofit (501(c)(3) entity) that means we do have not shareholders, but we do serve the community. BAT was recently asked, “Does BAT do more than just put on plays?”

As a BAT volunteer, this is an odd question because I see what BAT does, but it is worth answering.

Where to begin?

BAT has a script club. It is where people in the community read a script a month and talk about it. (Like a book club). LINK

BAT has a playwriting group, Seattle Playwrights Studio. BAT’s effort to help keep theater alive and well. LINK

BAT has a lending library, BALL. It is located in Phoenix Tea in Burien. LINK Right now there are about 300 scripts in BALL, but BAT will be adding about 700 more over the next few months. Look for the grand opening notice and party! (BALL had been located in a Burien bookstore, but that store recently closed.) Continue reading

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