NYT: Manhattan synagogue takes on double duty

The Actor’s Temple, so progressive in its founding that it admitted the once less-respectable entertaining class, has been getting by in its Hell’s Kitchen location, but the risk of insolvency has moved the small congregation to modify its space as — what else? — a performance space. It isn’t always easy — well-loved pews vanished for 199 seats — but at least there’s a revenue stream.

This is another example of shared use that you in small, underfunded congregations can draw on. (My last pastorate rented space to arts groups, but none used the sanctuary to perform.) Bookmark the story in today’s New York Times.

Off Broadway and Nearer to God: It’s Curtain Time at a Synagogue” by Campbell Robertson (2006 November 29)

Congregation Ezrath Israel aka The Actor’s Temple

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. The Universalist Church in Oaklandon, Indiana does something simmilar with the Oaklandon Civic Theatre. The congregation is small (about 28 adult members), the sanctuary seats about 120, and behind the movable pulpit there is an entire stage with a curtain and some lighting.


  2. Have you seen any of the performances at Oaklandon Civic? I am the artistic director and would value any comments. Also, I would be happy to provide any input regarding starting up a theatre in an active church. It has its challenges.I

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