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"Church Basement Ladies Meets Steel Magnolias" as all for One Opens Its 2021-22 Season


Opening their 2021-22 season with a show originally set for last season, all for One brings the funny but poignant play, The Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church, to their home at the ArtsLab this coming weekend. With a show that all for One artistic director Lauren Nichols calls “church basement ladies meets Steel Magnolias,” the production promises to bring both laughter and tears to an audience eager for both after a year of upheaval, and its place on the all for One schedule plays right into their mission.

“We chose it because it’s an unfamiliar play, but it’s hysterically funny,” Nichols said. “It’s a real crowd pleaser. It takes place in a church basement, and even though it’s a different culture – the south – it’s in Virginia which isn’t the deep south and isn’t that different from the Midwest.”

The idea of a charitable endeavor is one that’s very familiar to many in our community, and Nichols admits that it may be a bit too close to home these days.

“I think we may all be feeling a bit of charity and relief fatigue right now because we seem to be in crisis all the time. There are so many needs we want to fill, and we’re in danger of moving toward the wrong kind of charity. But this explores ideas for how we help people in different ways and at the center has some very serious themes even as we laugh.”

The cast includes five strong women in the roles of the “Church ladies,” and Nichols said it was the first time she’d directed an all-female cast. She said she’s enjoying the process because the performers are all so talented and bring a great deal to the characters. She also admits that they’ve shed a few tears during the rehearsals.

In addition to their upcoming season, all for One is also celebrating its new location. Having recently moved from their home on South Wayne, from a building which had been for sale for some time, all for One has a facility that they are currently renting to serve as their new home.

Lauren Nichols, all for One artistic director

“We were able to throw some things away in the move and have things much more consolidated,” Nichols said. “The beauty is that there’s more than enough room for us now with 10,000 square feet of space. We have room for offices, and our costume and wardrobe area has allowed us to sort our costumes and fabrics by color, by types of fabrics. We had them all in totes, and it was hard to find things when we needed them. Now we have them all organized. Plus we have the space to have sewing machines ready all the time for our volunteers to come in and work.”

The building has additional floors which provide some potential if they wish to eventually lease more than the first floor, which in itself is providing them some much needed breathing room.

“This allows us to function more efficiently, Nichols said. “It’s a three-story building, and half of the lower floor is below ground which should keep it cooler in the summer but provides plenty of natural light.”

As they often do, all for One is partnering with a local organization, St. Joseph Mission's Women's Shelter on Lake Avenue, which provides shelter to single women without children. Attendees are invited to bring feminine hygiene items to the performances as a donation for the women at the shelter.

For more information about their upcoming productions and to order tickets, visit

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