In Times of War

The Ashland Chautauqua begins again July 13-17.

ASHLAND -- Ashland Chautauqua’s traditional five-day event, featuring evening first-person performances and daytime workshops, is back after the 2020 preparations fell victim to pandemic restrictions.

The 2020 theme, “In Times of War,” was carried forward to 2021. The in-person performances will be held July 13 to 17 at the Guy C. Myers Memorial Band Shell in Ashland’s Brookside Park.

While wars have occurred throughout the history of humankind, the 20th century was particularly an era of violent conflict with death and destruction on an unimaginable scale. Whatever our ages, virtually all who have lived in that century have had some portion of our lives in a time of war. 

The characters in the evening programs will share their stories centering on The Great War (World War I) and World War II.

Ashland Chautauqua’s 22nd year features scholars portraying five historic individuals who responded to the challenges of war in different ways.

The scholars include John Dennis Anderson portraying Ernest Hemingway, famous for the war themes in his writings; James Holmes Armstead portraying General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., US Air Force General and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen; George Frein portraying Erich Maria Remarque, author of the World War I novel “All Quiet on the Western Front;” Karen Vuranch portraying Gertrude Bell, a spy and only female British army officer in the Middle East during World War I; and Kevin Radaker portraying Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II.

The intention for this theme is to expand consideration of wartime to a wider variety of roles. The general and the statesman are public figures in wartime and in the historical study of war. Hearing from the adventurer/journalist, the spy, and the anti-war soldier/novelist will broaden understanding of the context of wartimes.

The adult workshops this year will be virtual, as the usual venues were not available for scheduling in-person events. The virtual format will allow adults access to the workshops from their own homes or from congregate facilities.

Youth workshops will be held in person, with precautions for the safe gathering of children. The workshops will be led by the Chautauqua scholars. The topics all relate either to a character or more generally to wartime. The full schedule is available at ashlandchautauqua.org.

All the scholars except Armstead appeared at earlier Ashland Chautauqua events. Anderson has portrayed Robert Frost, William Faulkner, Louis Bromfield and Henry Beston. Vuranch has portrayed a wide range of characters, among them Grace O’Malley, Mother Jones, Clara Barton, and Julia Child.

Frein has appeared in Ashland as Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, and Herman Melville. Radaker portrayed C.S. Lewis and Henry David Thoreau.

The popular new feature, Coffee with the Scholars, returns on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings.

The location will be Foundation Plaza on East Main Street in downtown Ashland, with Downtown Perk as the rain site.

All Ashland Chautauqua events are free and open to the public. The evening performances and youth workshops are at accessible locations. Adult workshops are available via the Zoom meeting platform. 

Ashland Chautauqua offers Ashland County and surrounding areas an opportunity to celebrate history in an educational and entertaining manner. The Chautauqua planning committee is pleased to resume the in-person event for its dedicated fans and for newcomers as well.

ASHLAND CHAUTAUQUA

Ashland Chautauqua is supported by Ohio Humanities, the Ohio Arts Council, the City of Ashland’s Parks & Recreation Department, Explore Ashland, local businesses and organizations, and by local residents who want to see this vibrant celebration of history thrive in this community. Ashland Main Street is our fiscal agent. Ashland Chautauqua programming is planned and implemented by a committee of local citizen volunteers.

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