The free shows are carefully crafted with the intention of making audiences think about some of the basic questions they ask about life, according to Tent Troupe director Roney T. Shawe.
“Two shows a day, six days a week, a different town each day, and the entire troupe live and work out of circus tents,” is the way Shawe describes her summer on tour with teenagers from Silver Spring, Md.
The ministry was launched in 1970 with a small tent, a bare plywood stage and the audience sitting on the ground. Though the number of tents has grown, the stage has been replaced, the technical system has been updated and the audience sits on chairs, the high level of enthusiasm remains the same, says Shawe.
The program is unique, she said, noting that it is the only traveling summer tent theater of its kind in North America. Tent Troupe has visited approximately 375 towns in 29 states and Canada while touching the lives of more than 230,000 people.
Shawe said troupers and staff members experience life as a loving and caring family as an expression of their faith in Jesus. They share their ministry by example with all they meet along the road.
Each day they not only perform for hundreds of people, they erect and strike nearly 2 tons of canvas, pack and unpack four truck loads of equipment, prepare their meals and participate in family meetings and daily devotions.
Troupers and their families raise their own funds for their basic expenses. A freewill donation will be accepted at intermissions.