Laurel Jones has been a church worker for over 30 years. While raising her two sons, she served in many volunteer capacities such as Sunday School Teacher, Youth Leader, Board Member, Choir Member, various Committee Chairs, Women’s Ministry, etc. When her second son began high school, she began a part-time paid position in a local church office.
When her sons were in college, she began taking classes at South Coast Repertory Theater. Laurel realized that a whole new world had opened to her. She was asked to write and perform a portrayal of Katie Luther, the wife of the great Reformer, Martin Luther. Laurel and her husband John have traveled coast-to-coast celebrating the life and ministry of Katie Luther. In August of 2012, Laurel was asked to bring Katie to a synodical convocation in Camp Hill, Minnesota. Katie shared her life and ministry with over 650 pastors and church workers from all over the United States and Canada.
On a continuing basis, Laurel writes, casts, and directs mid-week Advent and Lenten services at one or sometimes two local churches. The dramas make the word come alive in new ways for old and new believers alike! She has been the Director of Drama Ministry at two churches for many years.
Laurel’s introduction to theater began by working with a children’s theater. Orange County Children’s Theater had a policy of casting the parents along with their children. The parents built the sets; hung lights; applied make-up; sewed costumes; collected props; and watched as their children formed very special friendships and became more secure in their personal life. Eventually, Laurel served as President of the Board of Directors of OCCT.
As an actor, Laurel appeared in many community productions and was asked to become a member of Vanguard Theatre Ensemble in Fullerton, CA. While there, she portrayed coveted women’s roles; directed her first show; wrote, cast, costumed and directed the theater’s annual Holiday show; and eventually served as President of Vanguard Theatre Ensemble’s Board of Directors.
Laurel accepted her Equity Card in order to work professionally with her husband, John-Frederick Jones, a professional actor and adjunct college professor at Irvine Valley College. Their production of “Dear Liar,” a play based on the 40-year correspondence of George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell, was chosen the LA Times’ and Backstage West’s Critics Choice!
John and Laurel have also performed theatrical readings at Chapman University of “Albert Schweitzer and Alice Ehlers: A Friendship in Letters” as well as “Letters of Devotion,” the correspondence between Albert and his then fiancée Helena Bresslau. These two readings afforded them the privilege of meeting Albert Schweitzer’s daughter and granddaughter!
A few years ago, John and Laurel were delighted to be asked to create and perform various workshops at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA. Laurel also created a Shakespearean Workshop, “An Adventure in Arden,” which John taught at Helena Modjeska’s home in Modjeska Canyon. The all-day seminar was wonderfully received in the beautiful location known as Arden.
Laurel has been overjoyed by the ways in which her life has welcomed so many new ways of serving others. The latest example is “The Heart of Delight” created and developed by Ian Daelucian.