There will be a panel-led discussion following each performance of Golden Ladder, the opening production of the Hope College Theatre season.

Golden Ladder, a contemporary play by Donna Spector, tells a semi-autobiographical story of a young girl's exploration of faith and religion, including Judaism, and Presbyterian, Catholic and evangelical Christianity. Confused by ambiguities and mixed messages within her own family - a Jewish father, who, out of love for his Presbyterian wife, goes along with her denial of Judaism - Cathy confronts her false assumptions, based on prejudice, about a number of religions in searching for her own spiritual truth.

Golden Ladder opens on Wednesday, Oct. 6. The production will have a two-week run, Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 6-9, and Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 13-16, in the studio theatre of the DeWitt Center, located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

Hope's production of "Golden Ladder" seeks to focus on issues relevant to the college's students as well as the surrounding community, according to Daina Robins, who is a member of the Hope College theatre faculty and director of the production. "Over the last few years the Hope College theatre department has made a conscious effort to produce plays which address issues of faith, socio-political topics that explicitly or implicitly occur within a community of faith and/or contemporary questions that encourage audience members' engagement with their own faith commitments," she said.

Panel/audience discussions moderated by Hope faculty, staff members and students will occur immediately after each performance. Moderators include: Paul Boersma, who is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Endowed Senior Chaplain; David Cunningham, CrossRoads director and professor of religion; Janis Gibbs, associate professor of history; Kristen Gray, who is assistant dean for health and counseling, and director of the Counseling Center; Curtis Gruenler, associate professor of English; Andrew Dell'Olio, associate professor of philosophy; Pat Roehling, professor of psychology; and Carol Simon, professor of philosophy.Cast members include: sophomore Caitelen C. Anderson of Albuquerque, N.M., as Carole Havens; sophomore Adam S. Carpenter of Auburn Hills as Aaron Feldman; sophomore Kate Finkbeiner of Haslett as Mary Scaccia; junior Kat Ramsey of Kalamazoo as Catherine Bronson; and freshman Jocelyn Vammer of Midland as the Hotel Clerk.

In addition, Hope theatre faculty members Jean Reed Bahle and Perry Landes are featured guest artists as parental figures, Laura and Bernard Bronson. Other members of the production team include: stage manager, junior Michael Dominiak of Dearborn; costume designer, junior Jessica Bodtke of Grand Junction; assistant costume designer, sophomore Kate Goetzinger of Indianapolis, Ind.; and lighting designer, Eric Saxvik, a 2004 Hope graduate from Libertyville, Ill. Richard Smith is designing scenery and properties, Erik Alberg is designing sound and Paul Anderson is the technical director.

Tickets for "Golden Ladder" are $7 for regular admission, $5 for Hope faculty and staff, and $4 for students and senior citizens, and are available in the theatre lobby box office in the DeWitt Center. The ticket office is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on performance nights until 8 p.m., and may be called at (616) 395-7890.