History of Stained Glass Theatre
SGT was born from a dream in the heart of playwrite/director, Ron Boutwell. As a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, Boutwell had a vision to use theatre arts to communicate God’s love to the world. In 1969, Boutwell began writing Christian plays with both an inherently evangelistic message to the lost and a spiritually motivating message to the believer. In the fall of 1982, Boutwell and several student actors from Southwest Baptist University began making plans to use their talents to serve God by establishing a full-time Christian theatre.
In the fall on 1983, the first theatre was opened in Springfield, Missouri. In 2003, SGT moved into a newly renovated building in Ozark, MO where it still resides today. SGT has become a place where families not only come for wholesome entertainment, but where they are encouraged and challenged spiritually.
In the early part of 1998, Stained Glass Theatre began its vision to expand with its first branch theatre in Joplin, MO which is now called Stained Glass Theatre West. In December 1998, Mike Upshaw moved to Columbia, MO to branch SGT to the Central section of the state. With the help of Susan (Norman) Worstell and Amy (Standard) McFarland, who resides as the managing director today, the theatre was soon up and going. The first two shows, In His Steps and The Praying Man, were held in the recreation building at Calvary Baptist Church of Columbia. The Lord used the shows to impact lives and encourage the mid-Missouri community. Still desiring a building of their own, in August of 1999, after much prayer and research, the management team decided to rent an office building at 830 E. High St. in Jefferson City, MO.
Construction on the building began in mid-September. This required destroying and moving walls, dry-walling, painting, building a stage, building risers for theater style seating, installing the seats, and much more. Volunteers from all over the mid-Missouri area gave of their time, energy, and other resources to help get the building ready. Finally, on November 18, 1999, Stained Glass Theatre Mid-Missouri opened its doors for A Christmas to Remember.
In May of 2004, the building was purchased by a different owner, and plans were made to move locations. With the hand of God in the mix, the owner, instead, decided to build a new theatre for the SGT ministry. After 10 months of renovations, the new theatre opened with the production of The Praying Man on March 31, 2005.
The theatre is very appreciative of the Lord’s sustaining faithfulness throughout the process. He has supplied finances, people, strength and much more to all involved. Stories of His blessings and encouragement continue to come forth from the volunteers and patrons alike. Stained Glass Theatre looks forward to continuing to bring the Gospel to the mid-Missouri area for many years to come.