2021 VIRTUAL Oklahoma Chautauqua: 20th Century Visionaries: Catalysts for Change (June 1-5)

2021 Evening Performances - Tuesday through Saturday, 7 pm – Virtual

  • Tuesday, June 1: Dr. Doug Mishler as The Ultimate Trekkie: Gene Roddenberry
  • Wednesday, June 2: Ms. Karen Vuranch as Queen of the Desert: Gertrude Bell
  • Thursday, June 3: Dr. John Dennis Anderson as The Medium is the Message: Marshall McLuhan
  • Friday, June 4: Ms. Susan Marie Frontczak as Inspirational Woman Scientist: Marie Curie
  • Saturday, June 5: Dr. Ted Kachel as Architect of Human Space: Frank Lloyd Wright


2021 Workshops - Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am & 2 pm – Virtual

  •  Tuesday, June 1; 10 am: McLuhan and 60s Pop and Counter-Culture- McLuhan influenced 60s figures (Andy Warhol, Timothy Leary) and changed broadcast media and comic strips. By John Anderson

  • Tuesday, June 1; 2 pm:  The Literature of World War I - WWI literature of the era when Gertrude Bell was influential in shaping British imperial policy in the Middle East. By Karen Vuranch

  • Wednesday, June 2; 10 am:  To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before- Star Trek's utopian vision in context with other American utopias and the need for other such visions. By Doug Mishler

  • Wednesday, June 2; 2 pm: Marie Curie: What Almost Stopped Her - Political, medical, and romantic backstories of hardships that could have kept her name in obscurity. By Susan Marie Frontczak

  • Thursday, June 3; 10 am: The Sykes-Picot Agreement & Today's Middle East - Sykes-Picot, a secret agreement made in 1916 to divide up the Middle East, causes strife today. By Karen Vuranch

  • Thursday; June 3; 2 pm: Wright’s Oklahoma Presence - Lloyd-Jones family history from Wisconsin to Tulsa, the Tulsa Westhope residence, and the Price Tower in Bartlesville. By Ted Kachel

  • Friday, June 4; 10 am: Wright and ‘The Women’ - Introduces Wright’s mother, his first wife Kitty, the scandal with ‘Mamah,’ and his final partnership with Olga. By Ted Kachel

  • Friday, June 4; 2 pm: McLuhan as Wise Guy - The broad history of communication from oral cultures to the written word and electronic media. By John Anderson

  • Saturday, June 5; 10 am:  Marie Curie’s Legacy - What happened after Curie received her two Nobel Prizes? Her shift from experiments to managing a laboratory. By Susan Marie Frontczak

  • Saturday; June 5; 2 pm: Wagon Train to the Stars -The Star Trek series launched a series of imitations and transformed the American culture. By Doug Mishler

2019 Chautauqua Companion Reader

Learn more about the weeklong events!
Companion Reader

Volunteers Needed

Contact 580.581.3450 to volunteer.

Previous Chautauqua

  • 2020: Postponed due to COVID19
  • 2019: From Pizarro to Picasso: Hispanic Legacy in America Today
  • 2018: The Modern Age: Moving Forward from World War I
  • 2017: Cowboys and Cattle Trails
  • 2016: The Cold War: The Early Years
  • 2015: The Dust Bowl: Strong Winds, Strong Characters
  • 2014: A Crisis of Confidence: The War That Changed the World
  • 2013: Anything Goes: America in the 1920s
  • 2012: Behind the Screen: Hollywood's Impact on American Culture
  • 2011: It's All Make Believe: Hollywod's Golden Age
  • 2010: The Wounds of War: A Tale of Two Americas
  • 2009: Lincoln's Legacy of Equality: Voices on the Fringe
  • 2008: A Time for Every Purpose: America in the 1960s
  • 2007: OK Centennial: 100 Years of Oklahoma Heroes
  • 2006: Throw the Book at 'em: Outlaws and Authors of Oklahoma
  • 2005: Portraits of the Renaissance: Poets, Pirates and Playwrights
  • 2004: Civil War: Love and War
  • 2003: Lies and Compromises: America in the 1850s
  • 2002: From Sea to Shining Sea
  • 2001: Behold the New Century
  • 2000: The Evolution of the West: Myth and Reality
  • 1999: 1895-1920: The Age of Excess and Opulence
  • 1998: Early America: The Struggle for Freedom
  • 1997: Prime Times, Scoundrel Times: Post War America
  • 1996: The Progressive Era: 1890-1920
  • 1995: Voices of the '30s: Defining Modern America

Upcoming Chautauqua

  • 2021: Visionaries
  • 2022: The 60s (Ginsburg, Isherwood, Joplin, Leary, Lennon, Phillips)
  • 2023: Civil Liberties

What Is Chautauqua?

Modern-day Chautauqua programs present a variety of historical enactments, workshops, and informal discussions. Evening performances include first-person presentations and time for audience questions to the historical figure in-character and to the scholar portraying the character. Ten daytime workshops and five evening lectures explore the cultural and political nuances of the era. The events are all free of charge, and are targeted to audiences of all ages, cultures, and socio-economic demographics.

The first Chautauqua Assembly took place on July 1, 1874, and was located on Chautauqua Lake near Jamestown, New York. John Heyl Vincent (1832-1920), secretary of the Methodist Sunday School (and later bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church) and Lewis Miller (1829-1899), an Akron, Ohio businessman, were the two founders. The Chautauqua Assemblies, which began as summer camp meetings, were held under the sanction and direction of the governing Sunday School Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

It didn’t take long for an eight-week educational camp to become popular. Within a decade, the Chautauqua assemblies (or Chautauquas, for short) sprang up all over the United States, bringing learning, culture and entertainment to small towns and villages. Over the years, the range of subjects at the Chautauqua grew. Prominent personalities were paid to give speeches on religious, political and scientific topics, such as Samuel Clemens and William Jennings Bryan.

Circuit Chautauquas, also called Tent Chautauquas, began in 1904. The programs were performed in tents for a few days, then folded up and moved to a new location. By the mid-1920s, when circuit Chautauquas were at their peak, they appeared in more than 10,000 communities.

In 1976, Everett Albers, Executive Director of the North Dakota Humanities Council, launched the modern Chautauqua in America. It was expanded from the original traveling tent with one-person presentations to a group of five scholars who present historical characters in a first-person dramatic performance.  Each scholar performs one evening presentation in character and two daytime workshops from the scholar’s own perspective. This was the start of a new movement, resolving the dilemma that faced many humanities organizations: how to make it possible for scholars to interact with the public in an open and accessible forum.

The Oklahoma Chautauqua returned to Lawton in June 2008. By 2012, the Lawton Chautauqua Committee decided to bring the evening performances inside because of the extreme hot weather. The City Hall auditorium was decided on as a perfect venue.