Today we share our interview with lead script writer for Above All, Pamela Nolde. Pam is an accomplished writer with an extensive background in stage production. She has been an employee at the Pentecostals of Alexandria for over a decade. In our interview she shared her story of how she became a writer, her journey as a writer and her insights into Above All.
Pamela's journey through the writing world began when she was a child. She loved to read, spending hours buried in books and the worlds they created. This fascination with reading developed into a love of words and desire to craft them into her own message. Her own story.
At age 15, she was published in a national magazine,The Conqueror's Tread. Her poem, written from the perspective a teen and the storms they face, spoke from her own experiences and feelings. Pamela wrote from the heart then, and it is a method that carried her forward in her writing career. Her motto became to write to the heart from her heart, hoping to touch the hearts of others.
From 1975 to 1978, Pamela attended Jackson College of Ministries and wrote extensively for their newly launched musical division of the creative wing of the school. She counts Lanny Wolfe as her primary influence and encouragement through this process.
From JCM, Pamela moved to Lake Charles and served under Sister Joan Ewing at Eastwood Pentecostal Church. There, she helped with the creative and curriculum departments, including their Easter Drama. It was while here that she further developed her craft at taking scripture and presenting it in a dramatic setting.
Pamela would work for Bishop T. F. Tenney starting in 1985 at the LA District Campgrounds in Tioga. It is this work relationship that helped define and drive Pamela to be the person she is today. He gave her opportunities to succeed and included her in writing processes and event creation for the District. This empowered Pam to take on responsibilities that many would shy away from.
One such responsibility was when The Pentecostals Of Alexandria called on her to help further develop the script and dramatic production Messiah. This production had already become so popular, even being attended by heads of state like President Bill Clinton. Yet, Pam brought her own creative flair and that heart motto with her and helped to develop Messiah into more than just a depiction of Christ's life. It became a message of Christ's passion to all who visited and watched it.
In 2005, the decision was made to close Messiah forever. It seemed that Pamela's major production days were done. Then Above All came. A decade after Messiah ended, Above All was birthed. She, along with Pastor Anthony Mangun, Sister Mickey Mangun and Jonathan Dean got together in the fall of 2014 and discussed the possibility of putting together a new and different Easter Production. One that was more of a spiritual service than a play or production. Tentative plans were made and ideas developed over the next few months.
Then on January 28th and 29th, Pamela and Jonathan got together and started writing the script out in detail. Biblical accuracy was imperative. She had learned that from Bishop Tenney. In 2 days they crafted what would become the main story of Above All. It would cover the last week of Christ's life, ending with him dying on the cross. This was different than any other Easter production in that it would not end with the empty tomb or the ascension. The audience would be left with a gripping feeling as they watch their Savior die for their sins.
Over the next 2 months, meetings and auditions were held. A cast was cobbled together and the script continued to develop based on the opportunities and the feelings of the production as it grew. Pamela was looking to keep things directed at the heart. Finally, the finishing touches were put on and Above All launched Palm Sunday weekend of 2015. The two weekend production was a success and has continued going now through its third run.
Over the three years, the production has undergone changes. Scenes have been adjusted and enhanced. Songs have been removed and replaced with others. One of the changes that Pamela has enjoyed the most has been the song "You're Gonna Be Okay" by Brian and Jenn Johnson. Interestingly, this was a change that came from Jonathan and not her. Pamela expressed that Above All has been a collaborative process from the beginning. It's not about who's the main person. As long as the production presents Christ to the audience's hearts, they feel that they are on the right track. The message has remained the same. This was Christ's last days. These days were lived for each and everyone of us. His death was for our sins. What will we do in return? That is the core theme and thoughts behind Above All.
The response to Above All has been tremendous with many hundreds of people flooding the altars each year. People's lives have been changed. We've seen people healed, delivered and saved from sin. That's the whole purpose of the cross and it's what Above All does as a production. It does this because the people behind it, including Pamela Nolde, have a heart and a desire to reach others. And to think this desire all originated from a little girl reading her favorite books.
We hope you have enjoyed this recap of our conversation with Pamela Nolde. This interview has primarily been a paraphrase of our conversation. However, the message that she expressed is complete and accurately presented. We hope it has touched your lives and hope to see you at Above All in the future. Look for a recap of the final weekend on Monday! In the meantime, consider grabbing one of the few remaining tickets to Above All here.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.