High Plains Chautauqua announces 2013 Program

High Plains Chautauqua will bring nine notable figures from the past to life on stage in Greeley Aug. 6-10. 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. This year’s event takes place once again on the Aims Community College campus. All events are free and open to the public.

The 2013 festival theme is Exploring Boundaries. Boundaries are not confined to lines on a map. Limitations of the mind, of beliefs and cultures, of science and of ethics are part of the human experience. Individuals featured in this year’s program confronted and explored obstacles as they related to geography, industry, race, gender and culture.

President Thomas Jefferson (1742-1826) radically expanded the boundaries of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase, and then sent Lewis and Clark out to explore the geography and the flora and fauna of this broad expanse. An American Renaissance man, Jefferson studied science, agriculture, and architecture as well. 

Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) was among the most prolific innovators of the 19th century, creating and expanding boundaries in a number of fields.  As an American steel manufacturer, he was a primary architect of vertical economic integration.  As a philanthropist, he was committed to giving away a fortune, to “do real and positive good.”  As a dedicated pacifist, Carnegie contributed to international peace efforts.

Born to a slave in Virginia, Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) grappled with the best way to help freed blacks advance.  He founded Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now known as Tuskegee University), which focused on training African Americans in agricultural pursuits. 

Conquistador Francisco Pizarro (1475 - 1541) claimed Peru for Spain and assassinated the Inca ruler. His career invites exploration of the boundaries between hero and villain, bravery and cruelty, and civilized and uncivilized values from the New World and Old.

Cultural anthropologist and author of the bestseller, Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead (1901-1978) is credited with changing how different human cultures are studied. In later works Mead argued that personality characteristics, especially as they differ between men and women, were shaped by cultural conditioning rather than heredity.

Carl Jung (1875-1961), the great Swiss psychiatrist, was one of the 20th century's leading explorers of boundaries. He explored the boundary between the conscious mind and the unconscious, between the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious, between waking and dreaming.  He found that many boundaries between cultures, races, genders, religions functioned as barriers.

Mary Shelley (1797–1851) extended the boundaries of literature in writing Frankenstein, regarded by some as the first true science fiction.  Subtitled The Modern Prometheus, the book raises questions about whether mankind's morality can keep up with its scientific ability to innovate.  In her personal life, Shelley tested the boundaries of cultural convention by eloping with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley at the age of 16. 

While we often associate Captain William Clark (1770-1838) with the Corps of Discovery and his trek to the Pacific with Meriwether Lewis (1804-06), Clark spent the rest of his life exploring new boundaries. Clark served the next three decades in St. Louis as the federal government’s emissary to native tribes in West, creating new kinds of political, economic, and social boundaries with native peoples in the face of American expansion.

Much more than a noted pilot, Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), pushed through social barriers and served as a role model to women and an inspiration to both sexes because of her courage and determination. Her life became a model of pushing against boundaries, both physical and social.  Amelia disappeared in the midst of bravely exploring boundaries−leaving an almost mythic legacy.


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 2013 HPC program is developed, go to www.highplainschautauqua.org or call Visit Greeley (the Greeley Convention and Visitors Bureau) at 970-352-3567.