Imagine a crowd of several hundred spectators gathered on blankets along the hillside overlooking the restored prairie known as the “Meadow” at Whitewater State Park. These spectators gather to watch a dramatic story unfold before their eyes as a team of local actors brings to life the voices of those who lived, worked and played in the Whitewater Valley over the past 200 years.
This will be the scene at Whitewater State Park during the Theater in the Park events scheduled for August. Preparations are now underway as local playwright Eva Barr works with park staff and area volunteers to plan the production of this ambitious theater project.
The theater events will be part of the park’s Centennial Anniversary and have been inspired by the early history pageants that were held in the 1930s and ‘40s in the very same location within the park. The performance, titled “A Whitewater World,” will weave together stories and perspectives of early Dakota people, pioneers and early settlers of the valley; Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration crews that helped build the park; area conservation heroes such as Richard J. Dorer; and park staff and visitors. The script was developed using stories collected during the park’s oral history project in 2017 and 2018.
Barr, working with Sara Holger, the park’s lead interpretive naturalist, has met with several of the oral history participants to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences in the Whitewater Valley. She is eager to see local theater enthusiasts from surrounding communities participate in this unique opportunity to showcase the fascinating history of the Whitewater Valley and would like to invite anyone with an interest and background in theater to get involved.
“There will be opportunities for local volunteers to assist with costume making, set building, sound logistics, music before and during the performances and, of course, with acting,” said Holger. “The play was written to include nine performers who change roles multiple times throughout the performance and represent countless figures from the valley spanning two centuries.”
A second round of auditions will take place on Saturday, April 27, at the St. Charles community room at city hall. Anyone interested in participating in this production is invited to attend the auditions, at which time an informational meeting to learn more about the project will also take place.
This project is being funded in part through grants from the Plainview Area Foundation and the St. Charles Area Community Foundation.
For more information, contact Barr directly at 507-352-4255 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.