The Jesus Fund

"You came here at Aubrey's invitation. You slithered back onto this campus under false pretenses ... and you're going to stand up in a courtroom and say he's not a Christian?"

Jan 30 – Feb 16, 2014

Written by Terry Milner

Directed by Beth Gardiner

Former Triangle based playwright Terry Milner’s electrifying new play about the confluence of organized religion and Big Money receives its world premiere at Burning Coal under the direction of Beth Gardiner.  Triangle favorite David Henderson leads a cast of extraordinary actors as they present the first staging ever of Milner’s fine new play about a Manhattan seminary faced with the choice of going bankrupt or accepting help from a radical ex-student.


Terry Milner lived and worked in the Triangle for years, first as an attorney at a small law firm in Chapel Hill, and later as executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference, a statewide consortium of theatres large and small.  He was a very active member of the Triangle theatre community, and appeared at Burning Coal in Tom Stoppard’s Travesties and our adaptations of The Man Who Tried to Save the World and Watership Down.  About five years ago he moved to New York City, and later to Oregon.  There, he began to write.  His first play, The Jesus Fund, asks the question: “Can organized religion and ‘big money’ co-exist?”  It is funny, thoughtful, angry, passionate, well-articulated and full of the energy and zest for life and ideas that scholars of theology often bring. 

The Jesus Fund is also new.  It is a new play.  Unlike many other art forms, theatre benefits from and celebrates the creation of new plays, new ideas.  Our work doesn’t last.  When time passes, the work ceases to exist.  But the script that remains behind can create a kind of Polaroid snapshot of that time.  What were people like then.  What did they look like?  Talk like?  What were their interests?  How did they justify their behaviors?  A new play is a fingerprint, for future detectives to use in trying to understand who and what we were.  As such, it is a vital instrument for our civilization, and a roadmap to let us know where we have been.  From that information, of course, we can sometimes even figure out where we ought to be going.  I’m delighted to have Terry back and I’m even more happy to have his play under our roof.  Even if only fleetingly.

Estimated run time: 2 hours.

Watch the Jesus Fund Trailer