Featured Stories

Nauvoo, British Pageants Accepting Applications for Family Cast Members

Applications are due October 31 for pageants running July 5–30, 2022

Nauvoo and British Pageant family cast members enjoy time together during the pre-show activities in Nauvoo, Illinois.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download Photo

The right summer activity can become an indelible family memory, something to be treasured and talked about for decades. And now is the season when many families, careworn from COVID-19, are searching for something significant to do this coming summer.

Here’s a perfect answer: Apply for your family to be part of the cast for the Nauvoo and British Pageants, both being held in Nauvoo, Illinois, this summer (and in the future).

Applications for summer 2022 are due by October 31, 2021. The pageants will run from July 5 to July 30, 2022, on Tuesday through Saturday evenings.

Learn more at http://nauvoopageant.org.

“We’ve had to postpone the pageant for two years due to COVID, while simultaneously many other pageants have been discontinued. Consequently, many people are surprised to learn that these two pageants are continuing, along with many additional activities in Nauvoo,” said Alan Gudmundson, the pageant president. “Preparations for the Nauvoo and British Pageants are ongoing, and now is the time to apply if you would like to participate!”

‘A Tribute to Joseph Smith’

The Nauvoo Pageant, A Tribute to Joseph Smith,” was commissioned in 2004 under the direction and supervision of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to commemorate the 200th birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 2005.

It emphasizes the joy of the early Latter-day Saints as they learned to live the gospel of Jesus Christ through their faith, sacrifice and courage. As they followed a prophet and built a temple, they showed how the restored gospel blesses the lives of families, meets their spiritual needs, invites them to make sacred covenants and helps them fulfill their deepest desires.

Families participate in the Nauvoo Pageant in Nauvoo, Illinois.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download Photo

“Truth Will Prevail”

The British Pageant, “Truth Will Prevail,” tells the history of early converts to the Church in the British Isles, depicting the struggles and triumphs of the British Saints. The devotion and sacrifice of 19th-century British Church members, as well as their faith in Jesus Christ, helped make possible the flourishing religious community that later was established in Nauvoo.

Becoming Saints

The pageants are performed every other night on an alternating basis, and families play an integral part in both, as well as other activities. “The pageant experience is not just about a production or portraying Saints in Nauvoo; it’s about becoming Saints by practicing principles of the restored gospel,” Gudmundson said.

Kirsten Hofeling, from Cedar City, Utah, said, “We learned that if we could plant the seed of love, faith and the spirit of Christ we felt in Nauvoo back in our home wards, then we could spread that gospel light further and brighter. It taught us that service isn’t something we do; it is who we become back home when we return.”

There are five family casts, consisting of about 120 people each. “These families prepare spiritually prior to their service and are set apart as ‘special representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ for the duration of the pageant,’” Gudmundson explained.

Those selected will spend one week rehearsing for the pageants, hosting pre-show activities and greeting thousands of guests who come each night. The following week, in addition to rehearsals and performances, cast members will have some free time to visit historical sites, participate in temple sessions and scheduled baptism trips, enjoy other cast activities and join in a testimony meeting. Families provide their own transportation, lodging and meals.


Families participate in the British Pageant in Nauvoo, Illinois.Photo courtesy of Church News
Download Photo

Step Away From the World

The family of Jonathan and Krista Carroll came from Boise, Idaho, to be in the pageant. “It gave our family the opportunity to step away from the world and into a Zion community of service [and] love,” Jonathan said. “We joined with other cast members in a united desire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Krista added.

Jeff Thompson from Provo, Utah, said, “I expected to be taught a show; I didn’t expect to be taught how to better live the gospel. I expected a fun community of performers. I didn’t expect to experience Zion. I expected to feel the Spirit. I didn’t expect to feel constantly immersed in love.”

Christiana Patrick from Monterey, California, who joined the cast as a young girl, said, “My love and respect for the pioneers grew so much, because they sacrificed so much to stand up for what they believed in.”

Matthew Hofeling, Kirsten’s son, said, “I had the opportunity to open my mission call while I was in Nauvoo. Because of the example of these early members of the Church who are portrayed in the pageant, I knew that whatever came while I was serving my mission, I could overcome it, because that’s what they did.”

Blessings for Your Family

Nauvoo pageant cast member enjoys the pre-show activities in Nauvoo, Illinois. © 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Nicole Christensen of San Antonio, Texas, and her family have been involved in the pageants for years. She offers these examples of the types of blessings your family might receive while serving in Nauvoo:

  • “As you learn about and discover connections with the Saints who built ‘the city beautiful,’ you gain a deeper understanding of your own familial connections. You gain a deeper understanding of and a broader perspective about your own challenges.”
  • “You see how people in those days were blessed by listening to the Prophet, and that encourages you to follow the Prophet today.”
  • “You realize how important it is to join with other members of the Church in building Zion as a global community of Saints with one purpose and one goal. Because of the pageants, I have met wonderful friends from Canada, England, and the United Arab Emirates. “
  • “You draw close to the Savior, and see others doing the same.”

Dalynne Grover, a volunteer in family support from Salt Lake City, Utah, shared her favorite memory of watching five little boys (ages 3 to 5) backstage as they imitated their fathers onstage. It was during the moment in the pageant when the men sing “Praise to the Man” (Hymns, no. 27) and pull ropes to raise the temple.

“This pageant touches hearts right down to the little ones,” Grover said. “It’s a reminder that we can do hard things, just as they did, with faith in every footstep.”

Others Needed, Too

In addition to family cast members, others are needed in Nauvoo.

Volunteers serve in various support positions, such as costuming, family support, food services, security, maintenance, and work crew.

The pageants have a Scottish flair and incorporate a bagpipe band as part of their productions, pre-show activities and outreach. Approximately a grade 4 band, these bagpipers and drummers audition to participate.

The core cast consists of more than 20 professional-quality actors, who audition to represent historical figures such as Parley P. Pratt and Joseph and Emma Smith. Actors perform live each night for the duration of the pageant. The core cast also presents short historical vignettes during the day and performs an hourlong presentation, “Our Story Goes On,” two times each season in Nauvoo.

Pre-Show Activities

Prior to the pageant each night, guests can enjoy 1840s-style games and activities hosted by family cast members dressed in period costumes. Activities include:

  • Arm wrestling
  • Children’s crafts
  • Children’s games
  • A cousins’ tent (search to see how you are related to historic characters portrayed in the pageant)
  • Graces and hoops
  • Handcart pulls
  • Highland Fling Dance
  • Log sawing
  • Making rag rugs
  • Parlor games
  • Puppet show
  • Quilting
  • Round dancing
  • Sack races
  • Stickball
  • Stick pull
  • Stilts
  • Tug-of-war
  • Wood branding

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.