Tupelo native pens, presents play based on pastor’s life

lifestyle_entertainmentBy Sheena Barnett

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A hero’s journey through struggles and tribulations is a classic story, and a Tupelo native is bringing such a tale back to her hometown.

Joyce Hayden has written, directed and produced “You Don’t Know My Story: The Stage Play,” which will be performed at the Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center on April 5.

Hayden, who now lives in Jackson, has been writing plays for several years that deal with social issues.

“You Don’t Know My Story” is the fictionalized account of her pastor’s son, Jaques D. Pittman, and his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.

“His story is just so wonderful. When he preaches, he gets so emotional, and he says, ‘Y’all don’t understand.’ So I said, ‘Let’s tell them,’” she said.

Pittman was studying to become a preacher, like his father, when he began abusing alcohol and drugs. He’s now sober and willing to share his story with the hopes that it will help others struggling with addiction.

Hayden interviewed him and his family to get the most accurate account of his experiences, but fictionalized a few parts for the story’s sake.

Proceeds from the play will be donated to alcohol and drug treatment centers. Hayden has also set up an option on the ticket website for patrons to donate to substance abuse centers if they can’t attend the play.

She hopes churches will take advantage of the group rates and said all of her plays are spiritual.

“We want churches to reach out to the whole body, to those who are still shattered by addictions,” she said.

Hayden hopes those who are struggling or their friends and family can find hope in “You Don’t Know My Story.”

“This is the whole story,” she said, “from his aspiration, fall, surrender, redemption and victory.”




What: “You Don’t Know My Story: The Stage Play”

When: 6 p.m. April 5

Where: Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center

Cost: $20/general admission, $30/VIP, and group rates are available. Joyce Hayden asks for those who cannot attend to donate to drug and alcohol treatment centers.

Info: eventbrite.com

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