High Plains Chautauqua Announces 2017 Program

High Plains Chautauqua will bring 12 notable individuals from history to the stage in Greeley Aug. 1-5. Chautauqua offers a unique blend of theatre, history, and the humanities under the big tent where audiences meet and engage in conversation with personalities from the past. The event takes place on the Aims Community College campus. All events are free and open to the public.

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entrance into the First World War, the 2017 festival theme is Echoes of World War I. This epic event not only ushered in the age of modern warfare but also gave rise to a new economic, political and cultural world order. The program will examine both America’s participation in the war and its continuing impact on the lives of all Americans.

Audiences will meet the following characters:

Out of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) founded the Republic of Turkey. He created a modern state that would grow under his successors into a viable democracy.

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was the first female Pulitzer Prize winner for her novel The Age of Innocence. She worked tirelessly to aid France, her adopted home, during WWI: collecting money and supplies, writing articles, and establishing aid societies.

Supreme Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I, General John “Black Jack” Pershing (1860-1948), modeled what it meant to be a modern American military officer.

Although Winston Churchill (1874-1965) is best known for his leadership as Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II, he played several important roles during and after World War I that greatly influenced the tactics and weaponry employed during the war and affected the re-mapping of the Middle East after the war.  

Emily Griffith (1868-1947), founder of The Opportunity School in Denver, believed everyone deserved an education regardless of age, race, gender, or background. Her school was a place where children and adults, especially immigrants, could come to learn during the day or night.

Admired for her spirit and organization, Ellis Meredith (1865-1955) advocated for woman suffrage in her daily column in the Rocky Mountain News and helped Colorado became the first state in which men voted for and approved woman suffrage in 1893.

Dr. Susan Anderson (1870-1960) moved to Fraser, Colorado gravely ill from tuberculosis and survived. Dedicated to public health, ‘Doc Susie’ dealt with the mysterious, deadly Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 that spread like wildfire during the last months of The Great War,

A soldier in the German army during World War I, Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) was haunted by his experience. Ten years after the war, he wrote All Quiet on the Western Front, considered one of the greatest war novels of all time.

Initially determined to keep America out of the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) eventually provided  energetic leadership  in  mobilizing  the  American  people  and  the  economy  for  a  total  war  effort. In the aftermath, Wilson championed the creation of a League of Nations in 1919.

A fiery orator and gifted writer, Emma Goldman (1869-1940) was a polarizing figure either admired for her rebellious activism or denounced as a dangerous anarchist.

As head of the Food Administration during World War I and later chief of the American Relief Administration, Herbert Hoover (1874-196) earned worldwide acclaim for his humanitarian efforts. Yet as President at the beginning of the Great Depression, his policies failed to provide relief for desperate citizens.

Sergeant Henry Johnson (1892-1929) was posthumously awarded the National Medal of Honor in 2015 for his heroic efforts during World War I. Johnson, an African American, was named “one of the five bravest soldiers in the war” by former President Theodore Roosevelt.

High Plains Chautauqua engages all ages. In addition to nightly performances, daytime programs for adults and hands-on activities for children are featured. Young Chautauqua scholars present their living history portrayals as a culmination of months of independent research.

High Plains Chautauqua is made possible thanks to the generosity of sponsors; individual donors; and many, many dedicated volunteers. For more information as the 2017 HPC program is developed, go to www.highplainschautauqua.org or call Visit Greeley (the Greeley Convention and Visitors Bureau) at 970-352-3567.