The Mission Play, charting the journey of Father Junipero Serra and his band of faithful followers as they struggle to bring their faith to the indigenous population of California, is a story full of passion and pride, faith and belonging, filled with color and song, tears and laughter.
Originally staged in 1911 outside the San Gabriel Mission, the Mission Play was written by poet, journalist and congressman John Steven-McGroarty.
In 1927, McGroarty’s stunning vision and ambition saw the completion of the Mission Playhouse, built specifically to house his epic – and astoundingly popular – Mission Play. The Play ran for many years and attracted over 2.5 million people over the length of it’s run.
To celebrate the City of San Gabriel’s Centennial, the Mission Playhouse presented the play for modern-day audiences on April 5-7, 2013.
We have a great creative team who share a wonderful vision that brought this classic work to life. Revel in history, ponder the past and future and celebrate the present in this colorful vibrant play complete with music and dance.
The Creative Team
Anna Cross – Producer
Originally from England, Anna has been involved in the arts since she was very young. She learned to play the violin at the age of 5, followed by piano at the age of 10. She grew up in a musical family. Her father was the lead singer of a rock and roll band and her grandparents were singers in London’s Philharmonia Chorus. In college, her love of music grew to an interest in learning about world music and cultures from across the globe, earning her BA in Music with an emphasis in Ethnomusicology. It was during this time that she learned to play musical instruments such as the Arabic flute and Indian sitar.
Anna has 15 years of theater management experience. She was the Theater Rental Manager and a Public Event Manager for UCLA Performing Arts where she managed up to 50 rental events per year in venues such as Royce Hall and Pauley Pavilion. Since 2006, Anna has been the Director of the Mission Playhouse where she oversees management of all Playhouse operations.
Jonathan Salisbury – Director
Jonathan hails from England where he lived until 2008. Performing from an early age, Jonathan gained his BA (Hons) degree in acting from Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. After many appearances on the London stage, he discovered directing. In London, he directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ben Jonson’s Volpone, as well as many modern productions and World Premiere’s both in the UK and Italy. Jonathan was Artistic Director of the first of Shoreditch and Hoxton Festival, of two different theaters in central London, and one in the commuter town of Tunbridge Wells. Since coming to Los Angeles, Jonathan has appeared in onstage as Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and most recently as Dr.Robert Smith in the acclaimed British play Blue/Orange as well as feature films, shorts, commercials and TV shows including a major recurring role in the PBS special Courage, New Hampshire. In 2011, he directed a short film entitled Intruder. He is currently developing his next film. Read more about Jonathan at www.jonathansalisbury.net.
Nicole Avenia – Writer
Nicole Avenia grew up in Shelby Township, Michigan, a small suburb outside Detroit. She attended college at the University of Michigan, majoring in English Literature and taking time to study Renaissance art and cinema abroad in Florence, Italy. After graduation, she moved to New York and worked as a middle school English teacher in the Lower East Side, Manhattan while simultaneously earning her Masters from Brooklyn College. After six years of teaching, Avenia decided to move to Los Angeles and focus primarily on screenwriting. She’s written over a dozen feature length screenplays and wrote and co-produced her first short, Intruder, in 2011 with Jonathan Salisbury directing. Her feature script, The Ice Pond, was a 2012 Nicholl Quarterfinalist as well as a top uploaded script on the Black List 3.0.