Youth can play historical figures |

Youth can play historical figures

Provided to the Tribune

The Douglas County Historical Society invites students, parents and mentors to an informational meeting of Young Chautauqua, an annual program for young people interested in history and drama, to learn about the program and its activities for 2005.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11 in the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center, 1477 N. Highway 395, in Gardnerville.

Highlighting the meeting will be a performance by Anita Ernst Watson, an accomplished Chautauqua performer, who will portray Mary McNair Matthews, a strong-willed young widow who arrived with her son in the Comstock in 1869 to settle her brother’s inheritance, and stayed for 10 years as a school teacher, seamstress, boarding house owner and mining stock investor.

Watson, a graduate of Douglas High School and University of Nevada, earned a doctorate in history in 1997 and has taught history at the university for nine years. Young Chautauqua sessions start Jan. 18 and will take place every other week until the weekend of June 22-23, when “Chautauqua in the Park,” the climax of the program, will be performed in Mormon Station State Park in Genoa. The program, which is funded in part by a Nevada Humanities grant, offers a unique opportunity for students in grades four through 12 to develop dramatic talent in portrayals of historic Nevada characters.

Adults are encouraged to bring their children, grandchildren and neighborhood youth to the Jan. 11 organizational meeting, which is open to the public. Group leaders will be selected to help children choose characters to be portrayed, and to write scripts for their performances.

To learn more about the program call Grace Bower, chair of the Young Chautauqua program for the Douglas County Historical Society, at (775) 265-6097, or the Museum and Cultural Center at (775) 782-2555 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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