Former pastor turns to acting full-time.


For Ian Black, there were two key factors in his decision to take a break from his role as a pastor to act full time.

“One of them was simply burnout in ministry,” said Black, who made the decision in 2022. “Lots of pastors struggle with burnout, and it often gets so bad that when we leave, we never return to ministry. I didn’t want to get to that point. So part of the decision to become an actor was to take a break from ministry so I could return to it down the road. But a huge part of it was my increasing desire to perform. I’d always loved it, and always wanted to pursue performing professionally as full-time as possible but had just never made that leap. Now is the time. (I’m) not getting any younger.”

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Black, 33, who lives in Lawrence Township in Indianapolis, plays Henri Baurel, the son of wealthy French industrialists, in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of “An American in Paris,” which is set for March 30 to May 14 at the Indianapolis venue,

His biggest challenge is mastering the accent.

“I only took two years of Spanish in high school, and accents do not come easily to me,” Black said. “I’m excited to tackle it and I imagine our dialect coach will get to know me very well. Hopefully by the end of the run, I will be passing as a true Frenchman.”

Black said he likes the fact Henri is so genuine.

“You get the sense he is truly kind and caring, even as he is figuring out more of who he is, who to love, what to do with his life,” Black said. “He experiences growth throughout the course of the show, demonstrated by his willingness to eventually let go of things he once clung to. And we learn about how many risks he and his family sacrificially undertook during the war. I really like his sense of humor. I also appreciate that he wants to go for his dreams, which is something that captures so much of what I’m striving to do in this chapter of life.”

Black, who was previously a pastor at Eagle Church in Whitestown, appeared in “A Beef & Boards Christmas” as a dancer in 2016 and 2017.