Last week I went to a Chautauqua performance by Caroline McIntyre who portrayed Mary Draper Ingles. As usual, it was a stunning performance and I’m so glad I went. I remember reading the book Follow the River years ago and this really brought the story to life for me. Mary Draper Ingles was kidnapped by the Shawnee Indians in 1755 but managed to escape and travel over 600 miles by foot to return home.
Chautauqua (pronounced Shuh-Talk-wa) is an interactive theater. Performers portray famous characters and talk to the audience. After their talk, they answer questions in the characters own words.
Every year the Board of Directors plan a theme for the year and have a huge event in June. This year is the “American Imagination.” During June 18-23, there will be talks by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and Dr. Seuss. You can find out more by going to the Greenville Chautauqua web site.
What really impresses me is that these events are so educational and FREE! It is truly a family event and even brings community members together.
I am so thankful that there is this group of people that are willing to do this for others. It takes lots of planning and arranging, not to mention all of the research and practice by the performers. When I see these, I am always amazed at how a small group of people can have such a huge impact on so many people. After I leave, I always feel so inspired by them.
Even though the main event happens in June, there have been some scattered performances throughout the year so I encourage you to follow along. There are also discussion series where people can gather to talk about these characters.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Image from the Greenville Chautauqua web site.