Fishnet Theatre began in 1985 as a few actors, directors, and playwrights began to feel the Lord’s call for a theatre whose goal is to proclaim the news of Jesus Christ. There was definitely a need for a different type of theatre – one that would share the word of the Lord and provide a great opportunity for Christians to invite their friends to an excellent drama.
A definite balance was needed. Fishnet wanted to be entertaining – but definitely not at the expense of the message we were trying to proclaim. However, we want the play to be enjoyed, and therefore better attended.
Another direction to which Fishnet was led was in regard to finance. Larger churches have the ability and resources to produce their own plays. Smaller churches do not enjoy the same budgets or manpower that is needed for producing dramas. Therefore, they normally go without. Drama is a great tool that has a unique ability to reach people. By traveling to many different churches, Fishnet can “fill the void” and provide great outreaches to many communities. It was unanimously decided early on that Fishnet would not charge a fee for performances. By not doing so, we opened up the possibility of working with scores of small churches and gatherings.
Scripts were written and rehearsed. Fishnet was soon on their way to the first of many productions. The first three productions were housed at Shoreline Community Church, and friends and neighbors were given the opportunity to see Christian drama.
Fishnet wanted to have an even greater impact on people, so a tour was organized. After obtaining a small utility trailer, Fishnet gathered their homemade trees, PAR lights, set, and portable tape player and took the medieval play “The Calling” on the road.
Fishnet’s tours were developing a reputation for being very solid biblically, and soon had quite a following. The Lord began blessing Fishnet spiritually and financially. The productions consistently bless the actors and audience alike. The Lord provided the finances needed for the upgrading of equipment. A soundboard and a light board were added, and the quality of the sets improved as well.
Very quickly, the small utility trailer became inadequate. A small travel trailer was purchased, and the interior removed to allow room for the sets. Although all equipment needed to be loaded and unloaded through a small side door, the need was met.
Fishnet’s productions began to become more sophisticated: the sets more elaborate, the lighting better quality. However, the approach stayed consistent – these items are simply tools that were used to better suit the needs. Fishnet did not want dramatic qualities simply because they are “dramatic.” Fishnet Theatre had a task from which we could not be distracted – to teach people about Jesus Christ.
The Lord continued to bless Fishnet. In 1994, Fishnet upgraded to a four-horse trailer that provided 17 feet of storage space. Soon, however, we noticed we were once again using all available room. The sets were more elaborate than ever, lighting consisted of trees and trusses – we were growing. The nature of the sets and equipment allowed us to perform in very small facilities. The set could expand or contract depending on the available space, lighting could be altered depending on available power, and even stage movements were changed on an as-needed basis.
After years of saving, Fishnet was able to purchase a 27-foot cargo trailer in 2000. Once again, it is kept full of equipment and sets. However, flexibility remains a priority. During one performance of “Reclaim” at a small church, the bowsprit was sticking out an open window!
Fishnet has performed hundreds of times in churches, schools, prisons, grange halls, office buildings, living rooms, outdoors, and yes, even traditional theatres.
Our future is only as big as our God is. Fishnet has grown and expanded beyond any of our expectations. Presently, our tours are twelve months long with 50 – 60 performances with four casts throughout the Puget Sound region.
There is an incredible amount of talent within Fishnet. From actors to directors to designers, the Lord has provided for our needs. There are no ‘paid’ positions in Fishnet. All are volunteers. We are not paid with earthly wealth, but we are all becoming richer because of what the Lord is doing in our lives and in the lives we touch. He is the motivation behind our efforts. It is he who has called us to this ministry.