"A unique combination of theatre and history under a tent - reminiscent of the early 20th century tent Chautauqua"

"A wonderful way to spend a beautiful Colorado evening outdoors. Even the occasional evening shower adds to the atmosphere."

"Great way to spark my kids' interest in history and the humanities."

High Plains Chautauqua will explore more recent history when eight memorable figures from the 1960s will appear on stage August 6-9, 2018.

This year's theme "Blowin' in the Wind: The 60s" will evoke memories of flower children, tie dye shirts, sit-ins, and war protesters as America grappled with one of the most turbulent decades in its modern history. Chautauqua will explore upheaval across the land through the eyes of characters who impacted politics, social justice, environmental awareness and the suburban explosion.

Audiences will meet the following characters:

Writer and humorist Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) made the middle class American housewife an American Legend - ironically by building a career as a writer, to document the lives of women like herself who made a career of homemaking.

Famous for his support of racial segregation, Governor George Wallace (1919-1998) became a spokesman for those who opposed America's shifting social and cultural mores in the 1960s. Wallace fought against the winds of change as a populist and states' rights activist.

Civil rights organizer and poet Maya Angelou (1928-2014) had two passions: to write and to right wrongs. Her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings brought her international recognition and acclaim.

Remembered for his outlandish and bizarre behavior, Russian President Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) followed a long and very colorful path to become arguably the most crucial figure opposing the West during the Cold War.

Feminist, civil rights activist, and attorney Pauli Murray (1910-1985) was a seasoned mover and shaker in the 1960s. Her analytical mind, her familiarity with legal strategies, and her tireless efforts on behalf of the oppressed made her invaluable to the feminist movement.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964), burst into national consciousness with her blockbuster book denouncing the indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides. Silent Spring is considered a catalyst for the modern environmentalist movement in the U.S.

After serving as Attorney General and a U.S. Senator, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) presented himself as an agent of change: for freedom and justice. Looking to guide the nation out of multiple violent crises, Kennedy was himself the victim of an assassin's bullet.

An eye witness to the tumultuous events of the 1960s, Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) became America's most watched and most trusted journalist. As the face and voice of CBS News, Cronkite was a regular television guest in American homes throughout the decade.

Chautauqua offers a unique blend of theatre, history, and the humanities under the big tent where audiences meet and engage in conversation with personalities from the past. The event takes place on the Aims Community College campus in a slightly abbreviated program this year, four days and nights, Monday - Thursday.  All events are free and open to the public and engages all ages. Children's hands-on activities and daytime programs for adults include Weld District 6 Young Chautauqua scholars presenting their living history portrayals as a culmination of months of independent research.

High Plains Chautauqua is made possible thanks to the generosity of sponsors; individual donors; and many, many dedicated volunteers. For more information as the 2018 HPC program is developed, go to www.highplainschautauqua.org or call Visit Greeley (the Greeley Convention and Visitors Bureau) at 970-352-3567.

All events are free. Donations appreciated, all the same!

The schedule is here and more information may be found at http://www.highplainschautauqua.org


2018 Schedule

Monday, August 6

7:15 p.m. Larry Bounds as Walter Cronkite

8:20 p.m. Becky Stone as Maya Angelou


Tuesday, August 7

7:15 p.m. George Wallace

8:20 p.m. Robert Kennedy


Wednesday, August 8

7:15 p.m. Pauli Murray

8:20 Rachel Carson


Thursday, August 9

7:15 p.m. Nikita Khrushchev

8:20 p.m. Erma Bombeck

Thank you to our sponsors!

All events are free. Donations appreciated, all the same!

The full schedule is here and more information may be found at http://www.highplainschautauqua.org

The tent Chautauqua that High Plains Chautauqua and the Colorado Chautauqua association in Boulder and the Chautauqua Institution at Lake Chautauqua, New York hold the same ideals of educational enrichment and self-improvement, but their origins and format are quite different.

The first Chautauqua, in New York State, originated in 1874 as a Methodist Sunday school teacher summer training camp and evolved into a popular educational summer camp for families. It is sometimes called the Mother Chautauqua because many independent "daughter" Chautauquas developed after the same pattern, in permanent facilities. At the height of their popularity several hundred existed, including Palmer Lake, near Colorado Springs, and the Boulder Chautauqua.

Keith Vawter, an owner of the Red Path Lyceum, started the circuit, or tent Chautauqua in 1904 as a way to provide rural America with programs similar to those being offered in Chicago's Redpath Lyceum.

A tent Chautauqua stayed in a community from five to seven days and offered a variety of cultural events morning, afternoon, and evening. It then moved on to another community.

Politicians, writers, theologians and distinguished speakers and entertainers such as President Warren G. Harding, the young Edgar Bergen with his puppet Charlie McCarthy, Carl Sandburg, historian Ida Tarbell, William Jennings Bryan, and evangelist Billy Sunday appeared on the Chautauqua circuit. Music was also an important feature of Chautauquas.

The traveling tent shows became an integral part of small town Americana. At their peak, they appeared in over 10,000 communities to more than 45 million people. However, in the 1920's increased mobility, radio and the talking pictures, and a change in the national attitude brought an end to the movement. The Roaring Twenties were a time of fun, frolic, and far less concern about self-improvement and inspirational messages.

In the 1970s, Everett Albers, North Dakota Humanities Council Executive Director, launched the modern humanities Chautauqua as a series of first-person interpretations of historical figures. In costume, the Chautauqua scholar delivers a monologue using the historical figure's words and then answers questions from the audience as that person would have. Finally, the scholar steps out of character to answer questions that often explore how lessons from that character's life and philosophy relate to us today. Several other state humanities councils followed suit.

Colorado Humanities launched High Plains Chautauqua in Greeley in August 2000. It quickly grew to be a full five-day living history festival attracting audience numbers of over 7,000 each year. Colorado Humanities later also partnered with the Grand Junction and Durango communities for two-day festivals in each of those locations.