Experience America's Rich Cinematic Past at Chutauqua

“When Chautauqua works, it's magic. It happens in a place that doesn't belong to anyone in particular. It belongs to everyone.” —Everett Albers, founder of Modern Chautauqua.

The green and white big top tent is a surefire sign that Greenville Chautauqua is in town! Step back in time, bring your picnic basket, and enjoy the lively entertainment and great historical speakers debating the issues of their day. These historical interpretations are interactive, entertaining, and educational for the entire family.  

Chautauqua performances aren’t simply a one-sided show. They are active dialogues between the performer and the audience. Enacted by nationally acclaimed historical interpreters, the performances captivate and enlighten audiences who interact with living history on a personal level. This unique experience with enthrall the entire family, from young children to knowledgeable history buffs.

This year’s theme is “America at the Movies.”  You’ll get to chat with Walt Disney, cartoonist, animator, and the man who continually brings smiles to our faces with his unforgettable characters. Meet one of the very first female entrepreneurs, Mary Pickford, film acting pioneer and co-founder of the lucrative film studio, United Artists. Converse with the innovative Orson Welles. Guests can get the inside scoop on his success with Citizen Kane and behind-the-scenes details about his stunning radio performance, “War of the Worlds.” Artists alike will love chatting with Gordon Parks, photographic essayist for Life Magazine, musician, and the country’s first African-American Hollywood filmmaker.

Upstate Festival Locations

The main festival takes place in Greenville, with some events held in Travelers Rest, Fountain Inn, Spartanburg, and Swannanoa, NC. The Spartanburb shows will be held at the Headquarters Library at 151 South Church Street. The Spartanburg schedule is as follows:

  • Mon, June 15     7:00 p.m.    Mary Pickford

  • Tue, June 16       7:00 p.m.    Walt Disney

  • Wed,  June 17     7:00 p.m.    Gordon Parks

  • Thu, June 18      7:00 p.m.    Orson Welles

The extensive Greenville line-up and locations can be found here.

This ten-day festival of live history has a total of 30 events. All shows can be seen multiple times; each experience is certain to reveal fresh discussions.

Be sure to grab your morning coffee at the Artists Guild Gallery in downtown Greenville and get up close and personal with the talented performers. You can meet them:

  •  Sat,  June 13    9:00 a.m.    Walt Disney
  • Thu,  June 18   9:00 a.m.   Orson Welles
  •  Fri,  June 19     9:00 a.m.   Mary Pickford
  • Sat,  June 20    9:00 a.m.   Gordon Parks

Frankly, you should give a damn because this year’s special event is an illustrated talk about the story behind the story of Gone With the Wind. Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer winning novel became a blockbuster film in 1939 and still enthralls audiences today. Leslie Goddard, a specialist in U.S. history and American studies, will explore how the film was made through images and short clips from the film. She will explore the critical and public reactions to the film, the special effects required as well as the film’s casting, including the famed two-year search for Scarlett.

Greenville Chautauqua has been bringing history to life through interactive theater for the past 15 years. They commemorate diversity by providing lively and interactive humanities education. Greenville Chautauqua is committed to keeping events free, fun and available to everyone.

  • WHEN: Friday, 6/12/2015 – Sunday, 6/21/2015; Greenville show times:  9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Various venues throughout Greenville County; main events at Greenville Technical College, 506 S. Pleasantburg
  • Sign-language accessible shows (Greenville locations only)
  • Admission: Free!

For additional information visit http://greenvillechautauqua.org/

Article by Deb Peluso