Chautauqua? What kind of word is that? It is a performance of living history, also called History Alive! Named for the famous Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York, a Chautauqua is a week-long event. Each evening, scholars present historical characters and workshops during the day. A Chautauqua usually has a theme and the theme of the first ever West Virginia Chautauqua, taking place in Fayetteville from July 2nd to 6th, will be The Civil War.
A Chautauqua presentation is comprised of three parts. First, there is a monologue about the character’s life. Then, the audience asks questions of the character. Finally, the presenter breaks character and asks questions from a contemporary perspective. It is a unique passport to the past, allowing you to learn and participate. History Alive! presenters have conducted thorough research into the character they portray. They have gained insight into their character after studying primary sources such as autobiographies, journals, letters, speeches, and other personal papers. Their presentation is based on scholarship and analysis rather than script.
This year’s Fayetteville Chautauqua is funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council, with support from the NEH and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts. Each day there will be a workshop at the Historic Fayette Theater at 3:00 p.m. and then an evening performance at 8:00 p.m., beginning with local musicians at 7:00 p.m. and then one of the scholars will present their Civil War character. All events of the Fayetteville Chautauqua are free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary. <Submitted by Gene Worthington.>
You will not want to miss this opportunity to delve into and experience Civil War history in such a realistic manner. For a complete schedule of events for the Fayetteville Civil War Chautauqua, visit the Calendar of Events tab on this web site.