The Department of Theatre at Hope College will present the original devised piece “Shiloh” on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21, and Thursday-Saturday, April 26-28, at 7:30 p.m., with an additional free matinee on Sunday, April 22, at 2 p.m. All performances will be in the DeWitt Center main theatre.

An original Western written and developed by Hope theatre students, “Shiloh” tells the story of a small Texas town where outcasts and wanderers have formed a safe haven for themselves. When three strangers arrive in the town, they are welcomed with open arms. These newcomers quickly become aware that Shiloh is a place full of individuals unlike any that they have met before. In a whirlwind of rowdy festivals, hand-to-hand combat, and an unfortunate crime, the people of Shiloh are faced with a dilemma that none of them ever thought would strike their town.

Director Rich Perez has been grateful to devise this piece with students and to empower them to create their own work — especially for female actors.

“The idea for the project arose out of my frustration in seeing so few plays with women as central characters. Quite often female characters are portrayed as either victims or having trivial concerns,” said Perez, an assistant professor of theatre.  “We have a department filled with intelligent, talented female actors. I wanted to give them an opportunity to write their own story.”

“I also thought it might be fun to populate a genre typically dominated by males and turn it on its head,” he said.  “We chose the American Western. The Old West was all about adventure, independence and endless possibilities — great ingredients to begin telling a compelling tale.”

In addition to Perez, the production team includes faculty members Michelle Bombe as costume design mentor and Perry Landes as music director and lighting and sound designer; junior Katrina Dykstra of Walker as costume designer; guest artist Shane Cinal as scenic designer; junior Megan Clark of Clymer, New York, as props manager; guest fight-choreographer Brian Plocharczyk; staff members Darlene Veenstra as costume shop manager and Paul Anderson as technical director; and senior Nathan Gingrich of Potsdam, New York, as stage manager.

The cast includes junior Jose Angulo of San Francisco, California; senior Griffin Baer of Holland; junior Megan Clark of Clymer, New York; sophomore Ben Douma of Crawfordsville, Indiana; senior Sam Hill of Grandville; sophomore Katie Joachim of Dearborn; senior Kierney Johnson of Seattle, Washington; senior Rachel Kennedy of Naperville, Illinois; junior Olivia Lehnertz of Bloomfield Hills; freshman Madison Meeron of Oxford; freshman Violet Peschiera of Holland; sophomore Emmie Sandstedt of Lake Zurich, Illinois;  senior Izzy Schonfeld of Oxford; senior Akia Nyrie Smith of Grand Rapids; senior Deana Velandra of Tipton; and freshman Riley Wilson of North Canton, Ohio.

Tickets are $10 for regular admission, and $7 for senior citizens, Hope faculty and staff. Tickets are free for Hope College students and children 18 and under, and are available at the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.).

The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890. Patrons may purchase tickets in person, online or by calling the ticket office.

The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue between 10th and 13th streets.