Schedule

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THURSDAY OCTOBER 11
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

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
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
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.