THE SALVATION BUSINESS
By Heather Debling
Sister Abby is down, but she’s not out. This time, the soul she saves may be her own.
Having risen to fame throughout the 1920s as a faith healer and charismatic preacher, Sister Abigail now finds herself broken, disgraced and abandoned. Alone in a hotel room, Sister Abby plots one final resurrection of her career while wrestling with the ghosts of her past. From the early tent revivals and Holy Rollers to the politicians, journalists and fundamentalists who orchestrated her downfall, The Salvation Business explores the personal toil behind Sister Abby’s very public triumphs and humiliations. A play about faith, show(wo)manship, and the lengths one woman will go to to save her soul. A reading of a new work-in-progress by Heather Debling.
Heather Debling is a fiction writer and playwright based in Stratford, Ontario. The Maple Leaves, a WWI drama based on real-life concert party groups, premiered at SpringWorks, Stratford's juried indie theatre and arts festival, in May 2013. It received two awards: "Best of SpringWorks 2013 (Adult Programming)" and "Best Marketing Campaign." The play was also part of the piece/meal reading series at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in 2010 and received an honourable mention in the 2011 Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition. Her next play, The Antigone Project, was developed through Nightwood Theatre's Write From the Hip program, a year-long script development program designed to support new writers through mentorship, one-on-one dramaturgy, developmental workshops and readings. A public reading of the play was held as part of Nightwood's 2015 Groundswell Festival. Her fiction has appeared in The New Quarterly, Agnes and True, The Antigonish Review and Room. She completed Humber College's Creative Writing By Correspondence Program, where she earned a letter of distinction (mentor Miranda Hill) and is currently in UBC's MFA in Creative Writing program (Optional-Residency).