Prince Caspian on Stage – The Script, Douglas Gresham’s Involvement and the Gala

By: Sarai Manning (“Prince Caspian” Cast Member)

Greetings Narnia Fans!

I would like to express my thanks to Paul Martin and the Narnia Fans team for expressing interest in the Academy of the Arts World Premiere of “Prince Caspian” on the Logos Theatre stage.

To begin, I would like to give you some information about Academy of the Arts and how the production of “Prince Caspian” came about.

Located in Taylors, South Carolina Academy of the Arts Ministries is both a professional theatre and Christian Conservatory. Founded in 1971, by Dr. Nicky Chavers, its goal is to “make the Bible come alive” through the dramatic arts. All the plays performed at the theatre are used as giant illustrations of whatever biblical truth that is being expressed within the works. Theatre is simply a vehicle to give out the gospel and to continue to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to people across America. The staff of AotA and young people who minister through the dramas, whether conservatory students or local youth, have devoted themselves to sharing a deeper spiritual message within every production. Academy of Arts Ministries teaches skills such as costume/makeup arts, costuming, technical leadership, choreography, prop/set design, and cinematography with Venture Films.

Logos Theatre presented three seasons of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” beginning in 2013. It was the first production to ever have a life-sized, three-man-puppet Aslan, created by AotA technical director Ken Hines, featured. With “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” ‘s incredible success, the Academy was nominated to perform the show across the Atlantic in Edinburgh, Scotland at an International Arts Festival. Led by the Lord Academy Artistic Director Nicole Stratton, daughter of founder Dr. Nicky Chavers, began drafting a play script for the sequel “Prince Caspian”. This was the first time anyone had tried to turn “Prince Caspian” into live theatrical format.To date, only three of the seven books have been presented at a professional level. Nicole Stratton began talking to the C.S. Lewis Company in order to obtain approval on the script so that they could have the rights to produce the play. During this lengthy process, Nicole’s script was sent to C.S. Lewis’ stepson Douglas Gresham. Many of you will be familiar with the fact that Mr. Gresham was extremely involved in the most recent production of Narnia films (2005-2010). Mr. Gresham worked alongside Nicole in editing the script. He told Nicole he was so grateful and impressed at how true she devoted she was to remaining true to the original text by C.S. Lewis. Through their communication, Nicole invited Mr. Gresham to come see the show when it premiered in December 2016. He agreed, arriving a week earlier and spending hours traveling around upstate South Carolina promoting the play, meeting the cast and crew, and finally being a special guest at the Academy’s “Beyond the Wardrobe Gala”.

Here is the special video announcement released by the Academy of the Arts:

The Gala was held at the Pointsett Club in Greenville, South Carolina on Wednesday, December 14. There were over one hundred people in attendance. Among them, the theatre sent an array of familiar characters to meet and interact with guests. Everyone from Miraz and the White Witch, to the Pevensies and Mr. and Mrs. Beaver! Even Aslan and Caspian’s horse Destrier made a very special appearance! Mr. Gresham shared stories about his childhood with C.S. Lewis and his love of “The Chronicles of Narnia”, before taking some audience questions. During the question and answer period, Mr. Gresham talked about Lewis’ favorite works, his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien, themes and messages within the novels, his views on Susan’s ending in “The Last Battle”, the inspiration of his theological works, as well as, his faith in Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful evening where guests had the opportunity to see special behind-the-scenes footage of the making of “Prince Caspian”, meet characters, and get a picture with Mr. Gresham. It was an exciting lead up to the World Premiere of “Prince Caspian” on stage!

Attached are some pictures from the “Beyond the Wardrobe Gala”.​

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