According to Billy Wayne Arrington, director and producer, every detail of the non-profit performing arts center has been undergirded in faith.
The previous owners of the property where the theatre is located gave Arrington a great deal on the 14 acres and existing buildings. Then a man who wanted to help get the ministry started donated computers.
"He said to me, ‘Every day that building isn’t opened is a day that people aren’t hearing about Jesus,’" Arrington said.
That same man got a construction loan so that construction could continue at a faster pace and then he carried the loan himself until the theatre started generating income. Later, after the theatre had been paying on the loan for six months, the man paid the remainder of the loan off himself.
The theatre building was renovated with the help of mission teams. At first, the load bearing poles in the middle of the theatre were a nuisance for Arrington. But then he had a vision centered around the scripture in Psalm 119 that says, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." The name of the theatre was born, and Arrington carried that theme over by placing lanterns at the top of the poles in the theatre to make them resemble lamplights.
LampLight hosts original productions, written by Arrington.
"We could pick up any musical or show," he said. "But everybody’s already doing that. Our goal is to produce original material. I believe we still need to create, not just rest on the laurels of what the world has given us."
In addition to annual Easter, patriotic, Mortality Room and Christmas shows, LampLight Theatre also hosts summer camps free for youth in two age groups - middle school and high school. And a Fall Folk Festival utilizes the entire grounds surrounding the theatre. Bible studies are held on Tuesdays. Internships and mentoring programs are also available.
"We’re grooming people to take over the ministry," Arrington said.
Volunteers fill many roles. Some make costumes or design sets, some are ushers or work in concessions, and some will sing, dance or act. All cast calls are open to the public.
LampLight Theatre is operated by eight employees with oversight by a board of eight members who meet twice a year and via conference calls at other times.
Making reservations for shows is recommended. The cost of admission is a suggested donation of $8 for each adult and $5 for students, but Arrington said that nobody is turned away.
"Money is never the issue," he said. "When people come in here, nobody knows who has or who has not. This is level ground. There’s no hierarchy or social barriers. Not for our volunteers and not for those who attend the shows. Someone might come in wearing furs and someone else might be here with bare feet."
LampLight Theatre is located at 441 Horton Highway in Fall Branch. For more information, call 423-348-7610 or visit www.lamplighttheatre.com or "Like" the LampLight Theatre Billy Wayne Ministries Facebook page.