Friday, June 21, 2024

Immerse yourself in history

FREE History Comes Alive Festival, June 7 to 16, 2024 in Greater Greenville South Carolina

We live in an age when it is increasingly difficult to discern rumor from fact and story from history. With the recent advent of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, we can duplicate anyone’s voice or image to falsely create “proof” of words and deeds with realistic recordings. But this problem is not at all a new one. Time and again, it has been shown that history is written by the victors who may suppress or “lose” stories or alter them for the benefit of the teller.

Join us this summer in Greater Greenville, South Carolina as we remember the images of America that we have grown up with and discover which of those images truly stand the test of time and which do not. Perhaps we will find fact can be even better than fiction.

This year Greenville Chautauqua visits figures from history who will share their personal light of truth about themselves and the world they inhabited. They will challenge the audience to compare the image we hold of their lives and their times with the reality of the lives they actually experienced.

From antebellum America to the Golden West, from the world of Nazi Austria to the world of American pop music, we have an image of these times, these people. On the Chautauqua stage, we will explore the truth of those images.

Journey through America’s history with “Charles Dickens”. This British novelist visited America around the time of the Civil War. Just as he told the whole truth, warts and all, about his own Victorian society, he did the same in his fiction and nonfiction writings and lectures about our country.

Our exploration continues with the American cowboy, the iconic image of the American West of yesteryear. That image has sold novels, movies and cigarettes for more than 100 years. But what was the world of the cowboy really like? We get to hear the answer firsthand from “El Vaquero”.

Among those in a commanding position to share the inside story of America in the late 19th century was “Stagecoach Mary” Fields. She was an enslaved woman who after emancipation worked on a riverboat and served in a convent and an Indian school before becoming a private carrier for the US Postal Service. She battled outlaws and became a Western legend!

The award-winning film The Sound of Music introduced the world to the musical von Trapp family. Now “Maria von Trapp” will set the story straight about her family’s escape from the Nazis and into the hearts of the American public.

Then “Cass Elliot” takes us behind the scenes with the Mamas and the Papas for a backstage look at the swinging ’60s and ’70s. She won a Grammy with her group, The Mamas & the Papas, and released five solo albums. The Age of Aquarius has been much glorified; now one of its most famous performers will tell us what it was really like from behind the stage.

Greenville Chautauqua has been offering interactive theater since 1999. Join us for our 26th Season this June.

2024 Chautauqua Festival Performers

Greenville Chautauqua performances take you on an astonishing journey into the past — to laugh with Mark Twain — to dream with Martin Luther King, Jr. — to walk the Trail of Tears with the Cherokee — to wonder with Rachel Carson. You become an “eyewitness” to History. Chautauqua performers are part scholar and part actor. Fascinated by their characters for years, they can answer your questions in the character’s own words. Our programs reflect America’s diversity and feature compelling discussion. And it’s not a Chautauqua performance without audience participation. Prepare to meet some incredible people. Keep the questions coming and the conversation going!

Greenville, South Carolina

Located halfway between Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC along I-85 and is nestled below the Appalachian Mountains just south of Asheville. The closest commercial airport is Greenville-Spartanburg International (GSP).

The tree-lined downtown is filled with boutiques, nightspots, unique coffee houses, museums, theaters, music venues, baseball stadium and a myriad of restaurants offering just about every kind of cuisine imaginable. The Reedy River runs through downtown and Falls Park, a 32-acre green space with a breath-taking cantilever walking bridge and multiuse paved trail. Paris Mountain and the Pisgah Forest are a short drive away. Click here for Visitor Center information.

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