This preview provided by the Burning Coal Theatre Company.

Burning Coal Theatre Company will present a staged reading of Jason Odell Williams’ new play CHURCH & STATE Wednesday, May 25th at 7 pm at the Murphey School auditorium, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC. The reading is free with a suggested $5 donation at the door. No reservations needed. For additional information, call 919.834.4001 or visit us at


Jason Odell Williams is an Emmy® Award nominated writer and producer; his play Handle With Care was a New York Times Critics’ Pick which ran Off-Broadway for 112 performances at The Westside Theatre starring stage and screen legend Carol Lawrence.


Tony Award nominee and acclaimed Broadway & television actor, Alan Campbell (Sunset Boulevard, Contact, Mamma Mia!) will star as Senator Charlie Whitmore. Burning Coal’s artistic director, Jerome Davis, will direct. Davis recently directed the US premiere of Lee Hall’s Spoonface Steinberg for Burning Coal as well as a critically acclaimed production of Grounded at Sonorous Road. In 2014, he led a company of 38 artists to London to present David Edgar’s Iron Curtain Trilogy at the Cockpit. The production garnered a 4 star review from the dean of London theatre critics, the Guardian’s Michael Billington.


Church & State is a comedy-drama about a conservative Christian senator who – just 3 days before election day – is inspired to question his stance on guns and God. After an off-the-cuff comment at a funeral, a chain reaction of events unfold as the senator, his wife, and his liberal Jewish campaign manager battle over damage control and the real role of God in politics. A surprisingly funny and honest look at what happens when a politician dares to take on all three of America’s hot-button topics (guns, God & politics) and the price we pay for our freedom. Church & State is slated for its world premiere production at JCC CenterStage in Rochester, NY in October of 2016.

Burning Coal Theatre Company is one of Raleigh’s professional theatre companies. Burning Coal is an incorporated, non-profit [501 (c) (3)] organization. Burning Coal’s mission is to produce literate, visceral, affecting theatre that is experienced, not simply seen. Burning Coal produces explosive reexaminations of overlooked classic and modern plays, as well as new plays, whose themes and issues are of immediate concern to our audience, using the best local, national and international artists available. We work toward a theatre of high-energy performances and minimalist production values. The emphasis is on literate works that are felt and experienced viscerally, unlike more traditional linear plays, at which audiences are most often asked to observe without participating. Race and gender non-specific casting is an integral component of our perspective, as well as an international viewpoint.