Two Rivers Chautauqua

It’s going to be an exciting event in a new venue – The Avalon Theatre!

Visiting us this year will be Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

We will also have The Legendary Ladies – Helen Hunt Jackson, Josie Bassett, Katherine Lee Bates, and Mary Rippon.

And, of course, our Chautauqua would not be complete without our talented Young Chautauquans from local schools.

Friday August 18

Community Presentations – Free to the Public

Mesa County Libraries, Main Branch: 10:00 to 11:00 am

  • Legendary Ladies: Straight Out of Colorado’s History, Announcer: Joyce Nelson
  • Josie Bassett, Rancher & Rustler, Portrayed by Judie Hinton
  • Helen Hunt Jackson, Indian Rights Advocate, Portrayed by Gretchen Payne
  • Mary Rippon, University of Colorado’s first female professor, Portrayed by Charlene Pazar
  • Katharine Lee Bates, Author of a Beloved American Song, Portrayed by Kyle Neidt

 

 Colorado Mesa University Library: 11:00 to Noon

  • Georgia O’Keeffe Portrayed by Nan Colton

 

Evening Performances

Avalon Theatre, 6:30 to 9:00 pm

$5 admission for Adults; Children 13 and younger admitted free

  • 6:30 pm      Young Chautauquan Performance
  • 7:00 pm      Georgia O’Keeffe Portrayed by Nan Colton
  • 8:00 pm      Laura Ingalls Wilder Portrayed by Karen Vuranch

 

Saturday, August 19

Morning Coffee with the Chautauquans

  • Mesa County Libraries, Main Branch: 9:00 to 10:00 am – Free to the Public

 

Daytime Presentations – Free to the Public

Avalon Theatre

  • 10:30 am     George Frein on Mark Twain
  • 11:30 pm     Young Chautauquans Performances
  • 12:30 pm     Legendary Ladies on Becoming an Adult Chautauquan
  • 1:30 pm       Young Chautauquans Performances
  • 2:00 pm      Nan Colton on Georgia O’Keeffe
  • 3:00 pm      Young Chautauquans (4 presenters)
  • 4:00 pm      Karen Vuranch as Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Evening Performances

Avalon Theatre, 6:30 to 9:00 pm

$5 admission for Adults; Children 13 and younger admitted free

  • 6:30 pm      Young Chautauquan Performance
  • 7:00 pm      Legendary Ladies: Straight Out of Colorado’s History, Announcer: Joyce Nelson
    • Josie Bassett, Rancher & Rustler, Portrayed by Judie Hinton
    • Helen Hunt Jackson, Indian Rights Advocate, Portrayed by Gretchen Payne
    • Mary Rippon, University of Colorado’s first female professor, Portrayed by Charlene Pazar
    • Katharine Lee Bates, Author of a Beloved American Song, Portrayed by Kyle Neidt
  • 8:00 pm      Mark Twain Portrayed by George Frein

Check our Event page here for more information! 


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WHAT IS A CHAUTAUQUA?

Chautauqua takes its name from a movement that began near Lake Chautauqua, New York, in the 1800s. It began with Sunday school teachers gathering for a week of study, but it became a touring program through which local communities could enjoy traveling speakers, politicians, plays, and music. Many communities still have the Chautauqua parks where these outdoor events were held, usually under a big tent. We’ve been told that at its height in 1924, Chautauqua programs visited over 12,000 towns and entertained over 32,000,000 people nationwide. But new technologies – radio and TV – led to the demise of the old-fashioned Chautauqua.

Today, Chautauqua has been reinvented as a way to bring the humanities, especially history, back to life. Organizations across the country bring in professional scholar-actors (Chautauquans) as historical characters, bringing history to life for their audiences. Local talent provides a great variety of daytime programs. These modern-day Chautauquas are usually sponsored by state humanities councils and other non-profit entities.

WHAT ABOUT TWO RIVERS CHAUTAUQUA?

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Two Rivers Chautauqua got its start in 2006, thanks to the Museum of Western Colorado, Colorado Humanities, and local donors. It is a two-day event held each year on a Friday and Saturday.

You’ll notice that some of our Chautauquans portray very well-known American icons; others are not so well-known. We believe that part of the fun of Chautauqua is learning more about our country’s history through historical figures we may not know so well, or at all. Here’s a year by year theme:

  • 2006 – The Call of the West with Kit Carson, Jessie Benton Fremont, Teddy Roosevelt, and Marie Curie 
  • 2007 – 1776 with Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Thomas Jefferson, and Hector St. John de Crevecoeur
  • 2008 – World War II with General George Patton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Ernie Pyle 
  • 2009 – Larger than Life with Irene Castle, P.T. Barnum, Coco Chanel, and Babe Ruth 
  • 2010 – The American Civil War with Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison, and Robert E. Lee 
  • 2011 – Lighten Up! with Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, and Will Rogers
  • 2012 – Inventive Minds with Henry Ford, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Albert Einstein, and Dr. Seuss
  • 2013 – Colorado Riches! with Margaret “Molly” Brown, Otto Mears, Teddy Roosevelt, and el vaquero, Diego Martín 
  • 2014 – American Dreams with Alexander Hamilton, John James Audubon, Jane Addams, and Rosa Parks
  • 2015 – Rascals and Rogues with Benedict Arnold, Belle Starr, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Huey Long
  • 2016 – Character Forged in Conflict with Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Nikita Khrushchev