1. a person who lives outside their native country.
Expatriate Theatre Company exists to create compelling theatre that reveals the heart of God and stirs the heart of man.
- Founders: Elizabeth Bernhardt, Christopher Bernhardt, Brie Tschoepe
- Established: March 12, 2019
- Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Chris and Elizabeth had been married for years, and had kept the dream of starting a business on the back burner. To greatly overgeneralize, Chris is the practical business mind of the pair, and Elizabeth is the artistic dreamer. With such different ways of seeing the world, could these two form a cohesive team?
Enter Brie. Elizabeth and Brie were introduced through an artist/pastor friend and met for a play date at Zilker Park to talk while keeping an eye on their kiddos. On an old-fashioned red fire truck at a playground near downtown Austin, these two women discovered a mutual passion for the ways in which Christian faith and professional theatre intersect.
Elizabeth started setting up the foundations for a theatre company. Meanwhile, she and Brie started collaborating. They worked together on a play reading at Elizabeth's church and almost co-produced a show at Brie's church . . . and then COVID hit. Elizabeth started organizing virtual play readings with actor friends, one of whom was Brie. Momentum and collaboration built. The global pandemic inspired Elizabeth to write a play, and the timing seemed right. One night, two artists and a business guy sat down to a Zoom call to pray and plan.
And Expatriate Theatre Company found its wings.
Why the name "Expatriate"? There's a teaching in the Bible that, once someone is reborn into God's family through Jesus's death and resurrection, they're no longer a citizen of this world. Rather, they are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Christians are expatriates, non-natives in this present world.
How does this shape our company? As a theatre company, Expatriate produces shows from a historical Christian worldview, seeking to do theatre according to the customs of our home country. We also seek to bring our stories to the wider marketplace of ideas, offering truth, goodness, and beauty to all we encounter, and inviting gentle and respectful discussions of differing ideas.
We are foreigners longing for our true home, and inviting curious others to seek it with us. As the Narrator in our play Shelter Out of Place puts it, "this is an invitation, not a demand." Curious? Come and see.
Founder & Artistic Director