High Plains Chautauqua Celebrates the ‘60s

High Plains Chautauqua will explore more recent history when eight memorable figures from the 1960s will appear on stage August 6-9. 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.

This year’s theme “Blowin’ in the Wind: The ‘60s” will evoke memories of flower children, tie dye shirts, sit-ins, and war protesters as America grappled with one of the most turbulent decades in its modern history. Chautauqua will explore upheaval across the land through the eyes of characters who impacted politics, social justice, environmental awareness and the suburban explosion.

Audiences will meet the following characters:

Monday, August 6

An eye witness to the tumultuous events of the 1960s, Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) became America's most watched and most trusted journalist. As the face and voice of CBS News, Cronkite was a regular television guest in American homes throughout the decade.

Civil rights organizer and poet Maya Angelou (1928-2014) had two passions: to write and to right wrongs. Her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings brought her international recognition and acclaim.

Tuesday, August 7

Famous for his support of racial segregation, Governor George Wallace (1919-1998) became a spokesman for those who opposed America’s shifting social and cultural mores in the 1960s. Wallace fought against the winds of change as a populist and states’ rights activist.

After serving as Attorney General and a U.S. Senator, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) presented himself as an agent of change: for freedom and justice. Looking to guide the nation out of multiple violent crises, Kennedy was himself the victim of an assassin’s bullet.

Wednesday, August 8

Feminist, civil rights activist, and attorney Pauli Murray (1910-1985) was a seasoned mover and shaker in the 1960s. Her analytical mind, her familiarity with legal strategies, and her tireless efforts on behalf of the oppressed made her invaluable to the feminist movement.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964), burst into national consciousness with her blockbuster book denouncing the indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides. Silent Spring is considered a catalyst for the modern environmentalist movement in the U.S.

Thursday, August 9

Remembered for his outlandish and bizarre behavior, Russian President Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) followed a long and very colorful path to become arguably the most crucial figure opposing the West during the Cold War.

Writer and humorist Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) made the middle class American housewife an American Legend – ironically by building a career as a writer, to document the lives of women like herself whose vocation was homemaking.


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. In a slightly abbreviated program, this year’s HPC will run four nights, Monday – Thursday.

High Plains Chautauqua is made possible thanks to the generosity of sponsors; individual donors; and many, many dedicated volunteers. For more information as the 2018 HPC program is developed, go to www.highplainschautauqua.org or call Visit Greeley (the Greeley Convention and Visitors Bureau) at 970-352-3567.