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Date/Time
Date(s) - October 11, 2018 - October 14, 2018
All Day

Location
Cutrer Mansion

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Tennessee Williams Festival 1018, Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Hello,

We’re thrilled to announce this year’s festival October 11—13 and we hope you can join us.

This year our featured Willams play is ORPHEUS DESCENDING. Join us for 48 hours of fun & enriching events devoted to America’s greatest playwright.

And: That weekend the Deep Blues Festival is also in Clarksdale with free and paid blues events throughout the weekend.

Karen Kohlhaas & Jen Waller
Co-Directors

Panny Mayfield
Director Emeritus

2018 | FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11

Cutrer Mansion, Clarksdale.

Cutrer Mansion, Clarksdale.

6PM
Festival Opening & Elvis Dance Party

CUTRER MANSION | 109 Clark Street

Festival kickoff featuring food by the Dutch Oven; the renowned Coahoma Community College choir; Orpheus Descending monologue teasers; and, a dance party featuring remembrances by local residents of Elvis Presley’s Clarksdale performances at the City Auditorium in the 1950’s, led by Williams scholar Dr. Kenneth Holditch who attended school with Elvis in Tupelo, Mississippi.

RESERVATIONS NECESSARY: This is the only festival event with a charge ($25). Please prepay or guarantee payment if you reserve and are unable to attend because we have to guarantee the food! Mail/drop checks: Cutrer Mansion, 109 Clark Street, Clarksdale MS 38614 by Tues, October 9th, or reserve and pay at the door. WE DO NOT TAKE CREDIT CARDS. To reserve, please email cchecassistant@gmail.com

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12

Cemetary, Tennessee Williams Festival, Clarksdale.

Our featured Williams play, ORPHEUS DESCENDING, references local landmarks such as the Episcopal Church, juke joints, and Moon Lake, and local history including the lives of African Americans in the Delta, the Cutrer family, and the death of Blues legend Bessie Smith.

Friday morning historic walking tour:

9:30 AM

Keynote speech

NEW ROXY THEATER |363 Issaquena Avenue
A talk on ORPHEUS DESCENDING by internationally recognized Tennessee Williams scholar Dr. Kenneth Holditch

10:30 AM

Monologue performance

GRANGE CEMETERY | Corner of Sunflower Ave. & MLK
Carol Cutrere’s monologue from ORPHEUS DESCENDING performed by Elizabeth Thompson, next to the Cutrer family plot

Introduction and commentary by scholar Dr. Matt Foss

11:00 AM

Historical talk

RIVERSIDE HOTEL | 615 Sunflower Avenue
The history of the Riverside Hotel, formerly the hospital that was the site of the death of Bessie Smith, by owner Zelena “Zee” Ratliff.

11:30 AM

Song & Monologue

RED’S LOUNGE | Corner of Sunflower and Martin Luther King Blvd
Performances of Bessie Smith song by singer Tarra Slack, and Carol Cutrere “Juking” monologue by visiting actor Elizabeth Thompson. Introduction and commentary by scholar Dr. Clark White.

12:30 PM

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN | Try one of Clarksdale’s great restaurants

(Visitors: Google “Clarksdale, Mississippi Restaurants” for choices)

2:00 PM

Orpheus Descending Scenes

COLLECTIVE SEED AND SUPPLY | 145 Delta Avenue
Collective Seed & Supply’s building has been a “mercantile” store since the 1900s, like the one in which ORPHEUS DESCENDING is set. Featuring several scenes from ORPHEUS DESCENDING, with visiting actors Matthew Brumlow, Heidi-Marie Ferren, and Elizabeth Thompson. Introduction and commentary by scholars Dr. Jack Barbera and Dr. Virginia Craighill.

3:15 PM

Slideshow, Scholar’s Panel, and Community Discussion

“CLARKSDALE, COTTON, AND THE CUTRERS”

CUTRER MANSION | 109 Clark Street
Slideshow on the Cutrer family presence in Tennessee Williams’ plays by Karen Kohlhaas; panel and discussion with scholars Dr. Jack Barbera, Dr. Virginia Craighill, Dr. Françoise Hamlin, & Dr. Clark White, moderated by Karen Kohlhaas.

5:00-7:00 PM

Museum Opening

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS RECTORY MUSEUM | 106 Sharkey Avenue
Museum Grand Opening with wine and cheese: dedicated to Tennessee Williams’ Mississippi Delta roots, featuring local history, Williams and Dakin family history, St. George’s Episcopal Church history, and the Delta people, places and stories that appear in Williams’ Mississippi Delta plays.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13

Cemetary, Tennessee Williams Festival, Clarksdale.

9:00 AM

Student Monologue and Scene Competition

Georgia Lewis Theater | Coahoma Community College | 3240 Friar’s Point Rd
High school and middle school students from around the state travel to Clarksdale each year to compete with Tennessee Williams monologues and scenes, for cash prizes awarded to their schools. Features a “Stella Shouting” contest. Judged by visiting scholars and theater artists.

12:30 PM

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN | Try one of Clarksdale’s great restaurants

(Visitors: google “Clarksdale Restaurants” for choices)

1:00-3:00 PM

Rectory Museum open

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS RECTORY MUSEUM | 106 Sharkey Ave
Dedicated to Tennessee Williams’ Mississippi Delta roots, featuring local history, Williams and Dakin family history, St. George’s Episcopal Church history, and the Delta people, places and stories that appear in Williams’ Mississippi Delta plays.

1:00-3:00 PM

Afternoon open house

CLARKSDALE WOMAN’S CLUB | 101 Sharkey Ave
Refreshments across the street from St. George’s Episcopal Church and the Tenneseee Williams Rectory Museum. Stop by the Woman’s Club to fill up on delicious homemade cookies before the Porch Plays.

2:00 PM

Tennessee Williams at St. George’s talk

ST. GEORGE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH | 106 Sharkey Ave
By Father Jason Shelby of St. Georges Episcopal Church, inside the church where Tennessee Williams’ grandfather was rector from 1917-1932.

3:00 PM

Porch Plays

PORCH PLAYS | Porches in Clarksdale’s Historic District
The Porch Plays begin at 415 Court Street—a house that Tennessee Williams played in as a boy with his friend Phil Clark. The performances will take place at 4 porches of homes in Clarksdale’s historic district.

VISITING ARTISTS & SCHOLARS

We’re thrilled to welcome these actors and scholars from all over the country.

Dr. Jack Barbera
University of Mississippi

 

 

 

 

Matthew Brunlow.Matthew Brumlow
Acting in scenes from ORPHEUS DESCENDING

 

 

 

 

Virginia Craighill.Dr. Virginia Craighill
University of the South at Sewanee

 

 

 

 

Heidi-Marie Ferren.Heidi-Marie Ferren
Acting in scenes from ORPHEUS DESCENDING

 

 

 

 

Matt Foss.Dr. Matt Foss
University of Toledo

 

 

 

 

Francoise Hamlin.Dr. Françoise Hamlin
Brown University
Author of THE CROSSROADS AT CLARKSDALE

 

 

 

 

Kenneth Holditch.Dr. Kenneth Holditch
University of New Orleans
Author of TENNESSEE WILLIAMS AND THE SOUTH
and THE WORLD OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

 

 

 

Elzabeth Thompson.Elizabeth Thompson
Acting in scenes from ORPHEUS DESCENDING

 

 

 

 

Clark White.Dr. Clark White
Founder, Blues Chattanooga Resource Center
Michigan State University, Temple University, Northeastern University, Brown University, Morehouse College. Visiting Scholar, WEB DuBois Center for African American Studies at Harvard University, Delta Cultural and Research Center at Mississippi Valley State University.

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