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Brennan Peacock is Atticus

At a recent rehearsal, Breely Richardson as Scout, Brennan Peacock as Atticus

Brennan Peacock hadn’t been in Atmore long when he auditioned for the part of Atticus in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Actually, it wasn’t even his idea to audition.

As of July 1, the Rev. Brennan Peacock is the pastor at Atmore First United Methodist Church. He and his family (wife Patti, sons Eli and Adam), had arrived in Atmore just before the Greater Escambia Council for the Arts presented “Annie.”

Two of the First Methodist personnel – secretary Patty Castleberry and choir director Gilda Stubben – performed in “Annie.” In addition, Eli’s band director at Northview High School – Timothy Huber – played Daddy Warbucks in “Annie.” It was only natural that the Peacocks would attend the play.

Brennan was impressed with the community theater. He had done some acting in high school, so he had a deep appreciation for the production and the talent.

And then came GECA’s auditions for the next show, “To Kill a Mockingbird” – one of Brennan’s favorite books.

“Patty and Gilda thought it would be fun for me to audition,” he said. “Atticus is a personal hero in many ways … This story feels native to me. I feel at home with this show. There’s a deep familiarity … I probably would not have auditioned this quickly if not for this show.”

But it is this show at this time.

“I’ve never been old enough to be Atticus before,” Brennan said. But at 46, he’s almost the age of Atticus in the script (nearly 50).

He first read “Mockingbird” in high school, but with a little age comes a different perspective and new appreciation. Now, it reminds him of growing up in a small town with his younger sister. And now that he’s the father of two, many of Atticus’ traits resonate with him.

Brennan is drawn to the compassion Atticus displays in the book. Indeed, compassion is one of the tenets he shares from the pulpit – Compassion, Companionship, Community.

The aspect of race relations touches Brennan, as it did Atticus.

“It’s about compassion with all people in the community,” he said. “We can’t spend all our time figuring out how to hate other people. That’s destructive. Showing compassion is the right thing to do. It’s the right way to be … We are called to discover ways to connect with each other and God, to make connections across every boundary, every demographic. The Holy Spirit tears those barriers down.”

Having some experience on stage, Brennan is not surprised at the amount of work that goes into being in a play.

“I’ve always valued the work that players do in a show,” he said. “There’s a lot of rehearsal, lot of preparation. Our whole family has had to adjust our schedules. Eli is in the band at Northview. Adam plays soccer at Ernest Ward Middle School. I have work requirements. We have meetings several nights a week at church and Bible study on Monday nights. There’s a lot to juggle. Then there’s carving out time to memorize lines. You can’t do it without family support.”

The cast
Atticus – Brennan Peacock
Jean Louise Finch – Patty Castleberry
Scout – Breely Richardson
Jem – Trevor Miller
Dill – Skyler Hursh
Calpurnia – Mae Rivers
Bob Ewell – Tom Jeter
Mayella Ewell – Jasmina Stahly
Gilmer (Prosecutor) – Dietrich Bondurant
Boo / Nathan Radley – Rob Arrant
Heck Tate – Jadon Torres
Miss Stephanie – Mary Beachy
Miss Maudie – Sherrie Hursh
Mrs. Dubose – Sharon Poulsen
Judge Taylor – Jerry Stahly
Walter Cunningham – Nathaniel Carnley
Tom Robinson –Joseph Seltzer
Helen Robinson – Betty Lewis
Off stage kids – Esmé Culleton, Brooklyn Hursh, Elizabeth Terry

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is directed by Phil Johnson. Sharon Poulsen is assistant director.

Show dates are Thursday through Saturday, September 28-30, 7 p.m. nightly; Sunday, October 1, 2 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, October 5-7, 7 p.m. nightly; Sunday, October 8, 2 p.m.

Tickets are $7 for GECA members, $10 for non-members. Tickets are available at Atmore News, 128 S. Main Street.