See Staged Reading of ‘Perseverance of the Saints’ by Adjunct Professor in Department of Humanities

Two readings of the the play Perseverance of the Saints by Kat Evans, adjunct professor of playwriting for the Department of the Humanities, will be held for free at the First United Methodist Church Sanctuary at Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St. The readings of the play about a tumultuous religious conflict in the years after the Great Chicago Fire will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 5, and at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7.

Both readings will be streamed on FUMC’s YouTube channel

Evans came across the story of a 1874 Chicago heresy trial during lockdown of 2020. The economics of Chicago boosterism, the politics of benevolence, and the theological debates still raging through churches today fascinated her. With initial funding from the Fourth Presbyterian Church, research and a first draft was complete by February of 2022. After four subsequent workshop readings, a Chicago Temple Fund grant, and fiscal sponsorship by Fractured Atlas through which Evans was able to receive private donations, she is producing two public readings featuring prominent Chicago actors. The readings are free, open to the public and will be held and streamed from First United Methodist Church at Chicago Temple in the Loop.

About The Play

Jennie survived the Civil War and the Great Chicago Fire by her wits and faith. Now part of the Fourth Presbyterian Church, Jennie has more than she ever dreamed: community and a kindred spirit named Maggie. Jennie’s world is turned upside down when the Fourth’s progressive pastor David Swing is charged with heresy.

The History: 150 years ago, in the midst of boosterism after the Great Chicago Fire, Fourth Presbyterian’s David Swing was Chicago’s most popular pastor and orator, preaching love over damnation. Francis Landey Patton, recruited to McCormick Seminary by Cyrus McCormick himself, charged Swing with heresy in 1874.

About the Playwright

Kat Evans is a writer, singer, and actor based in Chicago since 2006. Writing credits include comedy show and podcast Starlight Radio Dreams, Our Fair City: Human resources (cowritten with Ele Matelan), audio comedy Numbers Game, and episodes of The Daily Devo Show and Bible Builds for faith-based children’s’ network YIPPEE. As a performer she loves new works and has performed in premieres by Idris Goodwin, Kristine Thatcher, Brian Pastor, Ed Rutherford, Eddie Sugarman & Jiwan Kim, Reina Hardy & Matt Board, and Kingsley Day. She teaches playwriting at Illinois Tech and has been a member of the Fourth Presbyterian Church for over a decade.