230 YEARS AGO (1788)
A husband-and-wife acting duo billed as Mr. and Mrs. Kenna open a theatre in Newbern, N.C. Before moving to the Tar Heel State, the Kennas came from London to join the Hallam Company in New York City. In that troupe they performed in classic plays, experience that informs their programming in the South: They open the new theatre with Mrs. Kenna in the title role of the tragedy Isabella.
110 YEARS AGO (1908)
Social worker Alice Minnie Herts spearheads the creation of the Educational Theatre for Children and Young People. She recruits Mark Twain to serve as president of the theatre’s board, and Herts will go on to produce or adapt works by Mary Hunter Austin, Lady Gregory, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and others. She will later spell out her thinking in the 1911 book The Children’s Educational Theatre.
90 YEARS AGO (1928)
The National High School Orchestra Camp, which will later become Interlochen Center for the Arts, begins its first summer, welcoming 115 students from across the country to its idyllic wooded setting in Interlochen, Mich. The camp goes beyond fulfilling founder Joseph E. Maddy’s dream of creating a training ground for young musicians—the camp will eventually include programs across the creative and performing arts, including tracks in theatre arts and dance, and the site will also be the home of the Interlochen Arts Festival and a series of programs for adults, Interlochen College of Creative Arts.
45 YEARS AGO (1973)
The Scioto Society gets ready to debut Tecumseh!, about the Shawnee Native American leader. The performance opens the 1,800-seat Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre in Chillicothe, Ohio, and the piece will become an annual summer tradition, playing before millions of attendees in the coming decades.
15 YEARS AGO (2003)
Deaf West Theatre’s production of Big River, which began at the company’s 99-seat space in North Hollywood in 2001, prepares to open in a Roundabout Theatre Company production on Broadway with Tyrone Giordano, a deaf actor, in the lead role of Huckleberry Finn. The show will go on to tour nationally, with Giordano scoring roles in two films after casting directors see his performance in Big River.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece referred to Interlochen College of Creative Arts as a university. In fact the college is a series of programs for adults.