“Cover” Vignettes Expose Truths of Sex Trafficking, Create a Community for Change

The spotlight on Thursday’s world-premiere performance of “Cover” won’t be on the actresses, or the writer, but an issue close to the casts’ hearts – sex trafficking.

“Cover,” written by MBU Theatre Director Joy Powell, is a collection of nonsequential vignettes, short scenes with monologues, poetry recitation and songs, each focusing on a different aspect of human trafficking.

Joy Powell’s first production involving sex trafficking was a sketch for a chapel service at the University with MBU’s drama troupe, InCharactre. Years later, one of Powell’s doctoral classes mentioned the abuse of women in the history of performance arts. This reminder influenced Powell to write a production to raise awareness of sex trafficking.

“I wanted to help people understand what is going on and be a part of the solution,” said Powell.

A close relationship quickly developed between MBU Theatre and The Covering House, a local organization that provides refuge and restoration for victims of sex exploitation. The director and founder of The Covering House, Dedee Lhamon, appreciates MBU Theatre’s efforts to raise awareness.

“Anytime people recognize that the issue of trafficking is a growing problem, it helps bring light to those who are abused and moves us towards reducing this problem,” Lhamon said.

Since the opening of The Covering House in 2010, the organization has become a home for stories of tragedy, and a witness to lives transformed. These stories, served as inspiration for the vignettes of “Cover.”

Each vignette shares the harsh reality of a glossed-over truth: sex trafficking not only happens in America, but lives in the heart of St. Louis, said Powell.

That blatant truth transforms “Cover” from a mere production to a moving rally cry for change. While many of the students were aware of human trafficking, the vignettes were a source of education and inspiration to change the sad reality of the sex trade.

“People typically think it (sex trafficking) happens far away – actually, St. Louis is one of the heaviest areas. It happens at the local mall. It happens within miles of my house,” said MBU student Emily Rice, a cast member of the production. “People are trafficked – but often it goes unnoticed. It could be stopped by awareness and addressing the heart of the issue.”

Rice co-wrote four of the production’s songs, including the production’s anthem, “Cover Me” with alumna Jessica Balassi. The anthem repeats “Cover me, Cover me, my soul will find rest,” revealing that the hope of victims does not rest on rescuers or activists, but on the Savior, Jesus Christ. The anthem unites the victims, cast, crew and audience together, with the shared need for a savior’s redemption, helping all to be of one accord in the fight against sex trafficking.

Show Times & Ticket Prices:

Sept. 4 – 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 5-7 at 2 p.m.

Recital Hall

The Pillsbury Chapel and Dale Williams Fine Arts Center

Missouri Baptist University



$10-Seniors(65+)/Non-MBU Students

$7.50-MBU Faculty and Staff

$2.50-MBU Student (2 tickets per valid id)


Contact the MBU Box Office for more information (314) 392-2345.

Or visit mbuboxoffice.com to order tickets