Members of Howard Payne University’s Department of Theatre and university alumni recently traveled to Scotland to perform an original drama titled “Mouthpiece” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (EFF).


“What I was really excited about and proud to see was our students not just positively representing Howard Payne University, but also God’s kingdom,” said Dr. Nicholas Ewen ’02, assistant professor of theatre at HPU. “I heard from many people, students and directors who talked about how awesome our students are.”


“Mouthpiece,” written by Dr. Ewen, is about a senator who, after an accident, prompts those around him to consider the power of God’s Word. The play has an unmistakably Christian worldview and represented an opportunity for the group to do more than perform.


“We were not there just to have a great experience and perform a play,” said Dr. Ewen. “We were there to share what we believe and that was awesome to be able to do that.”


HPU’s contingent was invited to perform at the festival by the International Collegiate Theatre Festival (ICTF). The ICTF invites institutions to perform at the EFF each year and helps to coordinate their performance opportunities. As part of the ICTF, representatives of HPU at the Festival Fringe lived alongside fellow performers from colleges and universities around the United States.


“Being in Scotland and recognizing that God had prepared us to be there was really rewarding,” said Deejay Moses, a student at HPU majoring in theatre. “Something that we got to do in addition to performing was ministering to other college students who don’t go to school in places like HPU, where we are so immersed in Christ and the Gospel.”


HPU students, alumni and current and former personnel who traveled to and performed in Edinburgh included Lori Arp, longtime HPU theatre contributor; Dr. Ewen; Christopher Ewen, HPU dual-credit student; Jake Bowren, a senior from New Braunfels majoring in theatre and communication studies with an emphasis in public and media; Sarah Heinrichs, a junior from Hico majoring in theatre arts with all-level certification; Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld, professor emeritus of theatre; Deejay Moses, a senior from May majoring in theatre arts with all-level certification; Laurel Pinkney, a sophomore from Carrollton majoring in theatre; Cassia Rose ’18; and Isaac ’19 and Jessica ’19 Williams.


“The prayer support that we had definitely made a difference,” said Dr. Ewen. “From the minute we began travelling to Scotland, I could sense we had so much support in prayer. We had so much financial help too – the community really poured out a huge blessing on us and our students to be able to go. Everything fell into place.”


The EFF is the world’s largest theatre festival and attracts upwards of 500,000 visitors each year. More than 50,000 performances are staged during the three weeks of the festival and are hosted in any available venues, including hotel lobbies, restaurants and churches. It originated with eight theatre troupes performing on the outskirts of the 1947 Edinburgh International Festival. The festival has become iconic in the world of theatre, inspiring numerous other “fringe” festivals around the world.


Applications are being accepted for the spring 2020 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at