Junior Rachelle Ferguson is not only a talented writer and musician. As of this summer, she is a budding entrepreneur as well.
In July, Ferguson launched Kittywham Productions: Plays with a Punch — a business which offers original Christian dramas. According to the website, the company’s mission is “Discipleship through drama: Kittywham produces dramas written for Christians, by Christians. Our dramas bring truth to light in unique, meaningful ways, mingling humor with honesty and enthusiasm with insight.”
Currently, three of Ferguson’s plays are available for purchase: “Rejected: The Inside Story,” “Padlock Homes and the Case of the Missing Splinter,” and “The Gift.” A fourth play, “Narrow Escape,” will soon be available.
Ferguson’s skill as a playwright was kindled at a young age, when she and her older sister, LaRae Ferguson ’15, began writing skits for their parents and performing them with stuffed animals. Several years ago, Ferguson took that talent to a new level. Julia Thomas, the drama director at Ferguson’s home church — Wesleyan Bible Holiness Church in Illinois — was searching for plays online but had difficulty finding dramas that were both thought-provoking and Christian.
“It’s almost insulting to young people,” Thomas said. She noted many Christian plays only deal with exhausted issues such as peer pressure or drugs.
When Ferguson noticed the needs of this specific audience, she put her own ideas to paper and began writing plays for Thomas to use in the church’s drama program. During the past four or five years, she has written a total of four plays for Thomas, and the church drama group has staged them for both summer camps and annual Christmas performances — with Ferguson even acting in the plays herself.
Longtime audience member Cindy Dice lives just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. She could easily attend other holiday events, but chooses to attend the church’s annual Christmas performance.
“It’s our favorite event to attend every Christmas season,” she said. “I really appreciate her balance of humor, morals, and ways of capturing the audience’s attention. Her plays are always well done and portray truths in a subtle way. It all fits together perfectly.”
Ferguson said she writes not only for the audience and for the community, but also for the kids involved. Every drama is a teaching opportunity for the cast.
According to Thomas, “Young children giggle, but everyone walks away having understood something. We are all learning together.” Thomas’ 10-year-old son has also been inspired by Ferguson, and longs to become an author someday.
Ferguson’s favorite character is the incompetent Detective Walter Breckenridge. She spoke of him proudly.
“He’s rather pompous,” she said. “Rather squeamish. He faints a lot, and doughnuts always revive him — and comic books.”
Theater directors Joana and Jon Stratton at Hobe Sound Bible College in Florida are good friends of Ferguson’s and can speak to the quality of her writing.
“We like the way that her plays not only influence the audience, but also the actors themselves,” Jon Stratton said. “She’s developed a talent for drawing an audience in and taking their walls down. Truth is presented beautifully in the context of a story without having to have a perfect ending.”
Despite the beautiful results, Ferguson admits the tasks involved in starting Kittywham Productions —such as designing the website — was more difficult than she had expected.
“I didn’t anticipate quite all the time it would take,” she said. “It ate up July and August — going through and editing everything, then keeping up the blog on the website once a week or so, and finally getting on Facebook.”
Nevertheless, Ferguson has already sold one set of plays, and is in communication with multiple prospective customers. She hopes to continue writing and producing more material to print and sell.
“I think her company is really going to boom,” Jon Stratton said. “She is an encouragement to us.”