Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre was honored recently for its achievements at the Christian University Theatre Festival held at Wayland Baptist University. The department performed “Salted With Fire,” a play by Matthew Rutkowski, alumnus and admission counselor for HPU’s El Paso Center.

HPU won Outstanding Achievement in Costuming and individual awards were given to Katie Cravey, freshman from Huntsville; Hailey Green, junior from Kennedale; and Isaac Howell, senior from Georgetown. Cravey and Howell were awarded for Outstanding Achievement in Acting while Green was named Outstanding Technical Crew Member. Cravey was also named the Outstanding Festival Performer, the festival’s highest award.

“The play was very well received,” said Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, chair of HPU’s Department of Theatre and professor of theatre. “We were also honored to have our playwright at the performance.”

“Salted With Fire” is inspired by the book of the same name by George MacDonald, associate of authors such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The play poses the question, “Why does God let bad things happen?”

“My hope is the audience leaves with the perspective of a good and loving God who walks with us through the difficult times,” Rutkowski said prior to the play’s debut.

Dr. Celeste Church, dean of institutional research and effectiveness and associate professor of music, attended a performance of “Salted With Fire” on the HPU campus.

“I found the play to be one that penetrates the heart,” she said. “There are so many layers of meaning in the play and the quiet, honest struggle and beauty of the characters brought tears to my eyes.”

The Christian University Theatre Festival was created more than 20 years ago by the theatre directors from HPU, Hardin-Simmons University and Wayland Baptist University as a means to come together to share their art and love of theatre in a Christian setting. The festival rotates among the campuses of Texas Christian universities each year.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at 325-649-8500.