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Wayne State to Host Chautauqua History Festival

Published Monday, May 21st, 2018

Presenting "World War One: Legacies of a Forgotten War" June 7-10.

Wayne State College has proudly joined with Humanities Nebraska, the City of Wayne, and Wayne Public Library with support from the Dr. Sheila Stearns President’s Lecture Series, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, and the contributions of many other generous businesses, organizations, and individuals to present World War One: Legacies of a Forgotten War. The four-day Chautauqua festival will be June 7-10 at campus and city sites.

The Nebraska Chautauqua offers opportunities for audiences to come together to develop a fuller understanding of the lasting influences of the Great War. Among the impacts addressed as a part of Chautauqua are America’s changing role in international relations as a result of the war, the impact of the war on American race, gender, ethnicity, and class issues, and how technology shaped the war.

With origins in the late 19th century, Chautauqua combines oratory and lectures with literary readings and musical entertainment. The name itself comes from a resort community in New York State where in 1875, a summer program of lectures, sermons, and music attracted such enthusiastic audiences that within a few years similar programs sprang into existence for the public in other parts of the country. Today, Chautauqua upholds the tradition of offering entertainment, education, and community-based heritage. Attendees gather to enjoy scholars-in-residence presenting first-person portrayals of some of our most important historical figures along with a variety of activities for all ages.

Chautauqua Highlights

  • “Meet the Chautauquans” press opportunity at 6:30 p.m. June 6 in Ramsey Theatre. All of the Chautauqua scholars portraying historical figures will be on the same stage together for the only time of the week for interviews and photographs.
  • Youth Chautauqua Camp June 4-8 at the Wayne Public Library. The camp will allow youth in grades 4-8 to learn about a local historical figure from the era, then participate in a theatrical performance depicting the figure. Register by calling 402-375-3135 or visiting the library. Registrations accepted until start of camp. 
  • Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” movie at the Majestic the weekend before (May 31-June 3). Based on a true story, the film depicts the story of a stray dog who becomes a decorated war hero in WWI. Appropriate for audiences of all ages. Tickets are only $5.
  • “Chautauqua After Hours” post-show socials at Johnnie Byrd: an opportunity to gather and discuss the evening performances at Wayne’s new brewery.
  • A wide array of daily workshops and other events hosted by the Wayne Senior Center, Wayne State’s Department of Language and Literature, and the Wayne County Historical Museum. View the full schedule.
  • Sponsors include Wayne State College, the City of Wayne, Wayne Public Library, Wayne Senior Center, Wayne Area Economic Development, Wayne Community Theatre, Wayne County Museum, Majestic Theatre, Wayne Rotary Club, and Johnnie Byrd Brewery.

The Wayne Chautauqua committee:
Yasuko Taoka, Committee Chair, Dean of Arts and Humanities, WSC
Marcus Schlichter, Archivist, WSC Library
Barbara Engebretsen, President, Wayne Rotary
Gary Weddel, Wayne Rotary
Bill Engebretsen, Treasurer, Wayne Rotary
Rita McLean, Wayne County Museum
Heather Headley, Director, Wayne Public Library
David Graber, Director, WSC Library
W. Andrew Alexander, Professor, WSC Department of Language and Literature
Joseph Weixelman, Professor, WSC Department of History, Political Science, and Geography
Eric Colvard, Assistant Professor, WSC Department of History, Political Science, and Geography
Melissa Derechailo, Theatre Technician, WSC; Wayne Community Theatre Board of Directors
Abby Schademann, Marketing, Events, and Tourism Coordinator, Wayne Area Economic Development
Irene Fletcher, Assistant Director, Wayne Area Economic Development
Shelby Hagerdon, Student, WSC
John Dunning, Vice President of Information Technology, WSC
Stephanie Marcellus, Associate Professor, WSC Department of Language and Literature
M. Becky Zavada, Assistant Professor, WSC Department of Language and Literature
Andrew Haslit, Associate Professor, WSC Department of Art and Design
Mollie Spieker, President, Wayne Community Theatre Board of Directors
Melanie Loggins, Coordinator, Majestic Theatre

Find out more about the Nebraska Chautauqua.