The Lost Colony, for many, was more than just a show. It was family. Here is how several performers and technicians feel about losing the production this year:
On my first day with the show last summer, everyone was greeting each other by saying, “Welcome home,” whether it was their first year or their 30th year. This is because when you are a part of The Colony, you are forever a part of the dream that those English colonists had when they were in search for the New World. Our National Parks are such a vital part of our nation’s history, and the fact that “The Lost Colony” and the Waterside Theatre are on a National Historic Site is no coincidence. This is a part of our history that cannot be forgotten! Families came over from England in search of something better for their children. It is our duty and privilege to honor them when we perform this show. I first saw the show 16 years ago when I was just 10 years old and performing in the show is truly a dream come true.
Megan Tatum, dancer/choreographer
I am disappointed to not have another summer in Manteo with my Colony family. The memories and friendships I made last summer were some of the best I have made in life thus far. I can honestly say working at Colony has been one of the best artistic experiences I have had the pleasure of being welcomed into. I have never worked harder or felt more rewarded than on the Waterside Theatre stage. I was able to learn so many new invaluable skills, even as far as learning to be safely set on fire night after night! And I never would have imagined how many alumni I would meet all over the country. I am also always proud to tell a story so historic and important to the area. The town of Manteo is SO welcoming to the company members, as the show is incredibly meaningful to the culture and attraction of Roanoke Island. For now, we all will have to keep in touch as usual and keep the dream alive until next summer.
Courtney Sue Mulford, actor/technician/stage manager/dancer
Playing Old Tom would have been the first opportunity I had as a professional actor to play a lead role. And in the Waterside Theater with such a long-standing and respected show! But, I understand the need to cancel the season. My mantra about it has been “there’s always next year.” If TLC has survived this long, I know one season (lost) won’t be the end of the production. Last year was one of the happiest, love-filled summers of my life, and I know I’m not alone in that feeling. I made lifelong friends in those few months. I made lifelong memories in those few months. I understand the cancellation was for the best because I know The Lost Colony will survive. I just wish that I was living with my second family again; performing together in such a beautiful place.
Finn Steward, actor/technician, master of ceremonies, Old Tom
The Lost Colony is a little piece of history, and the story itself, one of the greatest pieces of history! The season cancellation has been a hard thing for me to adjust to. I think the season cancellation will bring such a charged force to future productions. It’s hard not to fall in love with the Colony and The Waterside! The cast and crew become a family throughout the summer and not being together to create will only make that itch to tell the story, to go through the preshow steps, to hear that first overture, to watch the Queen enter, to take that final march each night, and ultimately to be a Keeper of the Dream, even greater. I can only imagine what it will be like for the first audience (and every one after for a long time) to be transported back in time with us and witness the love and pride that will be present in telling the story!
Jeri Elizabeth Meador, assistant costume shop manager/costume shop manager
The Lost Colony has been such a huge part of our family for the last five years. Each season is different, with new actors or actors in new roles. But one thing remains the same on closing night, we all walk away as a family and count down the days until we can return to the sandy stage.
Eden Saunders, backstage wrangler/helper
This would have been my first principal role at a professional theatre company and I was really looking forward to it. I believe the cancellation will definitely strengthen further productions because everyone is ready to come back and perform there again. The excitement level is going to be even higher than it normally is because everyone has taken a year off. Also, the show will get a necessary breather which will give the producers and directors time to analyze the script and make any adjustments that they feel are necessary to improve the quality of the show. “The Lost Colony” production tells a story that re-enacts history at the location (where) it happened. There is nothing more exciting to the people both living and visiting the Outer Banks than “The Lost Colony” story. I miss “The Lost Colony” right now. The Outer Banks misses it. The world misses it. However, when it comes back it’s going to be one of the most legendary theatre performances — that is a guarantee.
Tony George, actor/technician, King Wingina,
In 2009 (when I was 9 years old) I was in the inaugural year of The Lost Colony Theatre Arts Camp, which I participated every summer until I convinced my parents to let me audition for the full production as a child colonist. I definitely believe that this added time will be beneficial to take a closer look at the script and assess what aspects are most necessary and enjoyable to modern audiences. I think this reset, while unfortunate in the short term, will ultimately inspire those who know and love the show even more. “The Lost Colony” company is a huge network and family, and we will all ensure that “the dream still lives.” “The Lost Colony” has provided me countless opportunities to further my skills as an actor, musician, and director on every step of my artistic career. It is also one of the biggest and best spectacles of live theater I’ve ever seen (and) been a part of. I am so grateful to everyone involved.
Micah Patt, actor/technician/Pavane/Choir/The Storyteller Historian
I hope that this unusual summer allows time for people to reflect on just how special “The Lost Colony” is. I think it’s easy to take for granted that the production will be there summer after summer, but this cancellation has shown us that we can’t always assume as much. I am hopeful that this cancellation will make audience members even more eager to see the production in 2021. There is something so magical about experiencing this production on Roanoke Island, under the stars, and in the exact spot where these events took place. You can’t just create that sort of experience anywhere. It is clear that there is a genuine love and passion for telling this story so I hope there will be the chance to continue telling it despite these incredible circumstances.
Ben Steinhauer, slated to be assistant audio engineer for the 2020 season
Every year I meet new amazing people who usually turn out to be some of my best friends in the future. The fact that I won’t be meeting any new people this year really makes me sad. I think that this summer will give time for the directors and writers to improve the script and blocking, without changing the overall story of the show, that can help draw a bigger audience. The most important thing about “The Lost Colony” is to carry on the dream and legacy of the colonists and I think we’re doing that, and we should continue to.
Riya Braunstein, child colonist, 13