Your donations to The Friends of the Library help fund Chautauqua each year.

2023 Oklahoma Chautauqua: American Aviation:  Barnstorming to Mach 1

2023 Chautauqua Book Reviews

More information coming soon.

2023 Performers

  1. Selene Phillips As Eula “Pearl” Carter Scott
  2. Ilene Evans as Rose Cousins
  3. Elsa Wolff as Amelia Earhart
  4. Karen Vuranch as Jackie Cochran
  5. Doug Mishler as Chuck Yeager

Schedule of Workshops and Evening Performances

10:00 am & 2:00 pm workshops at Museum of the Great Plains, 601 N Ferris Ave, Lawton, OK

7:00 pm performances at City Hall Auditorium, 212 SW 9th Street, Lawton, OK

Tuesday, June 20

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains


  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains


  • Performance: Selene Phillips as Eula “Pearl” Carter Scott
    7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall


Wednesday, June 21

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains


  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains


  • Performance: Ilene Evans as Rose Cousins
    7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall


Thursday, June 22

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains


  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains


  • Performance: Elsa Wolff as Amelia Earhardt
    7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall



Friday, June 23

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains


  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains


  • Performance: Karen Vuranch as Jacqueline Cochran
    7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall


Saturday, June 24

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains


  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains


  • Performance: Doug Mishler as Chuck Yeager
    7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall


2022 Chautauqua Companion Reader

Learn more about the weeklong events!
2022 Chautauqua

Volunteers Needed

Contact 580.581.3450 to volunteer.

Previous Chautauqua

  • 2022: Surviving the Sixties: Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll
  • 2021: 20th Century Visionaries: Catalysts for Change
  • 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


OK Chautauqua Recordings can be found here:

2022 Chautauqua Recordings

Videos of the book reviews and monologues from 2022 Oklahoma Chautauqua, "Surviving the Sixties: Sex, Drugs, & Rock 'n' Roll" can be viewed here:  

Upcoming Chautauqua

  • 2023: Aviation
  • 2024: Civil Liberties
  • 2025:

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.

By 1980 the Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota humanities councils joined with the North Dakota Humanities Council to form the Great Plains Chautauqua Society.  A century after the original circuit began, Chautauqua scholars were once again touring, this time presenting characters from the past organized around a central theme.  Starting in 1991, the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Humanities Council united to present Chautauquas in Oklahoma.  

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.