2023 Company Awards

On August 18, 2023, Company Awards were presented to the following people:

Bob Knowles Award: Ashley Averette Stephens 

Evelyn Russell Layton Award: Katie Smith & Mallory Green

Cora Mae Basnight Memorial Scholarship: Ethan Oxendine 

A. Lynn Lockrow Backstage Award: Meg Hashem 

Robert Midgette Alumni Association Award: Benedetto Robinson

Bradford Fearing Producers Award: Charlie Gravatte 

Congrats to all the award recipients and thank you for your hard work and dedication to The Lost Colony.

Keepers of The Dream June 29

The Keepers of the Dream Medallion is awarded to Alumni of The Lost Colony. On June 29, 2023 the following alumni were presented with the medallion during a pre-show ceremony.

Thank you for Keeping the Dream Alive:
Megan Tatum, Emily Mohler, Dave Holton

Keepers of The Dream
Left to right; Sir Walter Raleigh (Joey Cassella), Megan Tatum, Emily Mohler, Dave Holton.

The next Keeper of the Dream Ceremony is July 13th.
Reserve your The Lost Colony Tickets.

The Lost Colony Virginia Dare Baby Night Auditions


The Lost Colony Virginia Dare Baby Night Auditions will be held July 22nd, 2023. The 86th Anniversary Season of The Lost Colony commemorates the 436th birthday of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World to colonist Eleanor Dare on August 18th, 1587.The Lost Colony continues its long-celebrated tradition of using real babies during the August 18th performance. 

Being a “Virginia Dare Baby” is a coveted role in the community that many local citizens have had the opportunity of being a part of. For Virginia Dare Night only, the prop baby swaddled in blankets, is replaced with these special guests. Virginia Dare Night is generously sponsored by First National Bank.

Virginia Dare Night Baby Auditions

To be considered for the honor of appearing on stage, all babies must attend an audition meeting on Saturday, July 22nd at 10:30 AM in The Lost Colony Admin Building located beside the Elizabethan Gardens within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.  The address for The Lost Colony admin building is 1409 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27949. 

The casting is open to all cheerful boys and girls that are 15 pounds or less. All Virginia Dare babies must be available for several hours on the evening of August 18th for pre-show preparation and for The Lost Colony performance. All selected Virginia Dare babies will be introduced from the stage prior to the performance at 8:30 PM.

For more information on The Lost Colony Virginia Dare Baby Night Auditions, contact Matt Gabbard, 252-473-2127 or mgabbard@thelostcolony.org

The Keeper Of The Dream Ceremony 2023

The Keeper Of The Dream 2023 June 29, July 13, August 3, and August 17

The Keeper of the Dream Ceremony is awarded to Alumni of The Lost Colony production. RIHA (Roanoke Island Historical Association) will award select alumni with the KEEPER OF THE DREAM Medallion throughout the 86th Anniversary Season in a pre-show ceremony designed to honor our alumni and our ever growing family of Keepers of the Dream.
The award medallions will be presented on four occasions, June 29, July 13, August 3, and August 17. If you are an Alumnus of the production and interested in receiving the award, please fill out this form and let us know which of these dates you can attend to receive the award.

Reserve your tickets during one of the selected Keeper of The Dream Nights.

Keeper of the dream ceremony
2022 Keeper of The Dream Ceremony recipients

End of the Year Field Trip to The Lost Colony

The Oak Leaf Academy homeschool recently took their end of the year field trip to visit Fort Raleigh and The Lost Colony. While learning about US history and the first English settlement, the question arose-“what happened to the colony?”.
The students were given an all-access backstage tour and meet and great with members of the cast!

Tiffany DiDonato described their field trip and experience here:

“And that’s a wrap 5th grade! Tonight marked our final field trip of the year (and our first ever professional play seen together)! And what better way to literally say, “PEACE OUT Elementary School!” than to say it surrounded by the cast of The Lost Colony. 

Titan has been knee deep studying the history of the US. And in chapter 36 he learned that the first English settlers didn’t step foot on Plymouth Rock. Rather, the first attempted English settlement was right here in his home state of North Carolina. But what happened to the colony is a mystery. 

Titan has also expressed an interest in acting! So, imagine his surprise when we visited the sands the colony stepped on, the monument that represents the first English baby (Virginia Dare) to be born here, and then to sat front row at the symphonic performance that depicts it all. 

What a amazing submersive play about the history of our nation. Huge shout out to the cast for a fantastic performance . They BECAME their characters and in turn BECAME living history without missing a beat in terms of expression, song, dance, and gesture! 

When I tell you I have never met a more caring, inclusive, and kind cast—I mean it! They made my rising 6th grader feel so spoiled with autographs, acting tips, hugs, backstage tour, and words of encouragement towards his future endeavors. The secret to memorizing lines to perfection? Thriving and excellent with Dyslexia and ADHD? Yes, they discussed all that, too! So many more pictures to come, but for now I lead with this gem. 

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. Go see this play and be WOWED like we were. #oakleafacademy”

We are thrilled that this group had such an incredible time!

Opening Night Review

The Outer Banks Voice Gives an Opening Night Review of the 86th Season:

The opening night review is in! Kip Tabb, writer for The Outer Banks Voice, gave a candid and delightful review of this year’s performance. Read the full article below.

Curtain rose for 86th season on June 2

The 2023 version of The Lost Colony offers a great night of theater under the stars. The special effects are compelling; the pacing of the play is brisk but keeps the story line intact; and there is not a weak link among the actors.

There is something for everyone in this year’s play. The choreography is superb. Imani Joseph, reprising her role from last year as the Troubadour Dancer, is a highlight of the play and is mesmerizing in her performance.

The fight scenes are very well done. The sword fight between Simon Fernando (Benedetto Robinson) and John Borden (Luke Stage) in particular stood out. It was during the sword fight that Anais Dare’s pledge to always have Borden’s back is confirmed as he comes to the aid of his friend and, unknown to him, a rival for the affections of his wife, Eleanor (Mckenzie Troyer).

The musical performances overall were excellent. Our Song, performed by Olyvia Gregg, Katie Smith and Simone Gutierrez truly stood out. Their voices blended perfectly and the song itself helped to explain their hopes and dreams in the New World.

Perhaps most importantly, Paul Green’s 1937 play has been updated. While Green was a master at blending character development and plot to create the storyline, the play desperately needed updating in the pacing of that plot and in how a number of the characters were depicted.

Not all of the updating worked. Eleanor Dare was presented as too much of a 21st Century woman. She has been a strong character in the play, but she now seems so outspoken about the role women should have in the colony, and about their place in society, that it seems inconsistent with 16th Century mores. That is not a criticism of Troyer’s performance, which was wonderful, rather noting a characterization that seems inconsistent.

Significantly though, the racist depictions of the Native American peoples in the original script have been revised. The principal parts of the Roanoke and Croatan tribes are played by indigenous peoples, primarily from the Lumbee Tribe.

No longer do they speak in simplified English, and from the outset, it is clear from the interaction with the English when they first arrive on Roanoke Island that the native peoples are a sovereign nation and that they have a king—King Wingina (Cam Bryant).

The interaction between John White, played by local actor Stuart Parks, establishes that the two leaders share a vision of peaceful coexistence, and perhaps even a friendship. It is Wingina’s decision to send Manteo (Nakya Leviner) and Wanchese (Ethan Oxendine) to England, hoping that by learning the language and customs of the English, his people would be better able to coexist.

It is there that Manteo and Wanchese meet Queen Elizabeth I ((Libby Otos) in all her opulent glory.

While Wanchese and Manteo are in England, Elizabeth sends 100 men under the command of Captain Ralph Lane (Aaron Coleman) to establish a foothold in the New World.

The depiction of Lane in the 2023 play is an improvement over the ineffectual court fop presented last year. In this portrayal, Lane is seen as a social climber who will do anything to advance himself. If he has to kill Wingina to make himself seem strong and willful, he will not hesitate.

Historically it is known that Lane was a violent military leader who ordered the death of Wingina—a death that contributed to Sir Walter Raleigh’s failed attempt to colonize the New World.

How Wingina’s death is presented is another notable improvement. For the past two years, that was depicted by a large puppet owl, the owl being the symbol of death for a number of Native American people.

Symbolically that may work; realistically it was hard to recognize what happened. This year, the owl was there, but the death of Wingina is called out. And it sets up one of the most powerful scenes of the play.

When Manteo and Wanchese return from England, they learn of the death of Wingina, and they argue different, yet equally valid, points of view.

Manteo sees the path forward as cooperation, arguing that there are so many of the English, with technologies that the Native Americans could use, that working with them was the best way to insure their survival. Wanchese sees the English as filthy, (in the 16th Century, they were) untrustworthy invaders who will steal the land if they are not stopped.

As performed by Leviner and Oxendine, the clash of ideas made for compelling theater.

That clash of ideas comes to a head when the colonists arrive and Wanchese tells White the only way to appease the Roanoke tribe is for the colonists to leave. The colonists decide to stay, but short on provisions and without the help of the indigenous peoples, who themselves were struggling through an extended drought, the colony must have more supplies.

It is for that reason John White returns to England, seeking resupply for the colony. But the Spanish have declared war upon the England and the Queen will allow no English ships to leave port. White pleads with the Queen to allow just two ships to sail for the colony. Falling on his knees, he cries out that it is his daughter and granddaughter that are there and will die without the supplies.

But to no avail, as word comes that a Spanish Armada is approaching England.

Left on their own, the colonists face a desperate situation. Without the help of the Native Americans, there is not enough food to survive. Anais Dare is killed in a raid by the Roanoke tribe, and the village is under constant threat of attack.

It is at this time that perhaps the seminal speech of the play is delivered by Old Tom (Chris Rothbauer).

In England, Tom was the town drunk, a man ridiculed and reviled by the people who knew him. But in the new world, he is remade, finding strength he did not know he had and a wife, Agona, who now speaks.

It is at this desperate moment that Tom stands guard upon the palisade protecting the homes, that he marvels at the change that has come over him.

“Roanoke, o’ Roanoke, thou hast made a man out of me,” he cries out. And the words are as powerful now as they were when Green first wrote them.

When Green wrote The Lost Colony, the nation was engulfed in the Great Depression, and Tom’s message of hope and resilience was a call to believe in the potential of a troubled nation. It is perhaps for that reason that his words have as much impact today as they did when they were first spoken 86 years ago.

“There is something for everyone in this year’s play. The choreography is superb. Imani Joseph, reprising her role from last year as the Troubadour Dancer, is a highlight of the play and is mesmerizing in her performance.”-Tabb. Read the full opening night review article here.

Opening Night Review
Opening Night Review

Local’s Dare Nights at The Lost Colony

Sponsored by Midgett Insurance, the Dare Nights for 2023 are set for; June 9th, June 16th and June 23rd. Dare Nights are free for Dare, Currituck,Tyrell and Hyde County residents with a minimum donation of 3 non-perishable items to the local food pantries. Dare Nights are also open to general public

Dare Nights Food Pantries
June 9th-Roanoke Island Food Pantry: View needed items here.
June 16th-Beach Food Pantry
June 23rd-Beach Food Pantry

Please arrive early and make sure you have your Dare or Currituck ID and your canned goods. 

The Lost Colony begins at 8:30pm nightly. The gates to the Waterside Theatre open at 7:30pm. On Tuesdays, Friday and Saturday nights, the Free Native American Pre-Show begins at 8 pm.

Buy Tickets

Preview Night To Support The SPCA

The Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA) has announced a preview night on Thursday, June 1st, 2023 that will also support the Outer Banks SPCA. 

General admission tickets for preview night are $20 for adults and $10 for children or donations for the SPCA are being accepted in lieu of the ticket price. A great way to experience The Lost Colony ahead of the season opening and support the local SPCA, don’t miss this opportunity. 

“Thanks to The Lost Colony for supporting the Outer Banks SPCA on the preview night of the 2023 season. We are always in need of food and supplies for the animals at the Dare County Animal Shelter and the generous support of your patrons is greatly appreciated . Best wishes for a successful season!”-Bill Coleman, Executive Director of the Outer Banks SPCA. 

View the full list of donations needed for the SPCA here. One donation is recommended for each ticket purchase. 

To reserve ahead for the June 1st preview night, you can purchase General Admission tickets through www.thelostcolony.org/ticket-info or bring your SPCA donations the night of the show to receive your free ticket.  

For  questions, please call The Lost Colony Box office at 252-473-6000. 

The Lost Colony Creatives Among Tony Award Nominees

Manteo, NC-

On May 2, 2023 the nominees for the 76th annual Tony Awards were announced. Among the nominees were several The Lost Colony creative artists.

David Thompson was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for “New York, New York.” David, who has been previously nominated for his work on Broadway (Chicago, The Scottsboro BoysSteel Pier) played a key role in shaping the story of The Lost Colony while maintaining Paul Green’s script in the new production.

Sam Davis, composer of The Lost Colony’s symphonic score, was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Orchestration for “New York, New York.”

In addition, “New York, New York” was nominated for Best Musical and Best Scenic Design. The Lost Colony’s 3D Projection Designer Christopher Ash’s projection work plays a prominent role in this production boasting nine Tony award nominations.

“We are so fortunate to have so many world-renowned creative artists working on this production at The Lost Colony,” said Director Whiting, “and I couldn’t be more thrilled to congratulate these members of our team for their well-deserved Tony nominations for their excellent creative work on Broadway.”

The Tony Awards ceremony, which will take place on June 11 at the United Palace, will honor Broadway musicals and plays that opened during the 2022-2023 season.

The Lost Colony opens for the 86th season on June 2nd, 2023 and runs through August 26th, 2023. For more information and tickets-www.thelostcolony.org

About The Lost Colony…the proud recipient of the Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre. 

The 86th Season of The Lost Colony is presented by PNC Bank. First staged in 1937, The Lost Colony is the nation’s premier and longest-running outdoor symphonic drama. Adapted from the original script written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green, The Lost Colony’s 86th season will run from June 2-Aug. 26, 2023, at Manteo’s Waterside Theatre, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. For tickets and more information, go to www.www.thelostcolony.org or call (252) 473-6000. 

2023 The Lost Colony Local Auditions Announced

Become a Cast Member for the 2023 Season

The Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA) has announced the dates for the local auditions for the 86th season of The Lost Colony.  Director and Choreographer Jeff Whiting and team will hold local auditions from 11 AM-5 PM on Saturday, February 25th, 2023.  

Auditions will take place at Manteo High School, 829 Wingina Ave, Manteo, NC. Registration opens at 10:30 AM and auditions will begin at 11:00 AM.  

To register for the auditions, visit www.thelostcolony.org/auditions. You will receive an audition time once you have registered. Everyone attending the auditions is requested to bring a recent photograph and resume. Additional information will be collected at the time of registration. 

The Lost Colony Welcomes The U.S. Capitol Tree

On November 13th, The U.S. Capitol Tree made a pit stop to the parking lot of The Lost Colony within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, as part of its “From the Mountains to the Sea” journey. 

Governor John White (RIHA Executive Director Chuck Still) and Old Tom (RIHA Maintenance Supervisor Charlie Gravatte) were there to greet the tree as it arrived. 

It was a beautiful afternoon at Ft. Raleigh as people from all over the Outer Banks came to celebrate the Capitol Tree’s arrival, and it was a terrific start to the Holiday Season! 

U.S. Capital Tree at Fort Raleigh

Mark your calendars for November 13th, 2022! Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Town of Manteo, invites the community to view the 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree when it makes a stop at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, from 3-5 p.m. Sunday,
Nov. 13, 2022.

Each year, a different national forest provides a tree to light up the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building for the holiday season. The National Forests in North Carolina will bring the 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Pisgah National Forest to Washington, D.C., including a short visit to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, 1500 Fort Raleigh Rd., Manteo, N.C.

After the 78-foot-tall red spruce tree was harvested on November 2nd from the Pisgah National Forest, it will be loaded on a truck and driven nearly 1,000-miles, stopping along the way at a series of outdoor community celebrations before the final stop at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 18.

Festivities during the tree’s visit to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site will include:
Remarks by public officials, a performance by the Manteo Elementary School Choir, activities and ornament making with over 15 local partner organizations and a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

For U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree news and tour information, visit www.uscapitolchristmastree.com. Track the tree from the National Forests in North Carolina to the U.S. Capitol beginning Nov. 5 at www.capitoltreetracker.com.

2022 Company Awards

The Cora Mae Basnight Memorial Scholarship Award

Cora Mae was a gifted pianist-who was accepted at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory for Music in Baltimore.  Cora Mae performed in The The Lost Colony from 1957 to 1984, playing the role of Agona. She thrived in the role and has the distinct record of portraying the same role for longer than anyone else in American Theatre history. In honor of Cora Mae’s extraordinary achievements and contributions, we are proud to be able to offer a scholarship in her name. The Cora Mae Basnight Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a The Lost Colony company member who has shown distinction in music, be it vocal, instrumental, composition, or direction, dedication to excellence in theatrical musical performance, and commitment to The Lost Colony. This year, the scholarship will be shared by 2 company members who kept the musical integrity of The Lost Colony in tact, both on stage and off. The winners of the Cora Mae Basnight Memorial Scholarship Award are Kristina Brooke Swearingen and Ruthie Sangster.

The Bob Knowles Award

Bob Knowles is referred to as “our man at the top of the hill”, and everyone who knew him speaks nothing but niceties about him. The Bob Knowles Award is given to a Company Member who personifies the sense of professionalism in the Lost Colony company that Knowles set, both onstage and off. The awarded company member seeks to further the purpose and message of The Lost Colony, conducts themselves with dignity and respect, and sets an example for those around them. This year, we are pleased to offer the Bob Knowles Award to not one but 2 outstanding company members, Stuart Parks II and Ashleigh Ponder.

The Evelyn Russell Layton Award

Evelyn Russell Layton Award is named after Evelynn Russell Layton. The wife of Legendary The Lost Colony director Joe Layton, Evelynn Russell was a consummate professional and performer who believed that theatre was everything. This award is dedicated to her memory and to the level of professionalism that she brought to her work. The award is given to a company member who shows great promise in their theatrical career, and during their summer with us at The Lost Colony, has shown their dedication to both the show and the craft of theatre in general. This year, we are proud to present the Evelyn Russell Layton Award to Tyler Fox.

The Robert Midgette Alumni Association Award

Robert Midgette is nothing short of a The Lost Colony legend. A native to Roanoke Island, Robert and almost his entire family have been involved with The Lost Colonythroughout the years. Bob was involved with the show for 48 seasons, and during these seasons he played Manteo for 26 years and served as The Lost Colony’s Fight Director for 14 years. This award, which is graciously funded by The Lost Colony Alumni Association, is given to a returning company member who is chosen by their peers. This person shows great enthusiasm, professionalism, and dedication to The Lost Colony, and this year we are proud to present the Robert Midgette Alumni Association Award to Nakya Leviner.

The Bradford Fearing Producers Award

This award is given to either a The Lost Colony Company Member or full-time Roanoke Island Historical Association employee, who contributed to the success and continuation of our annual production, and signifies their contributions and merit. It is named after Bradford Fearing, one of the founding members of the Roanoke Island Historical Association, who has been called “the guiding genius of The Lost Colony”. This year, we are proud to present this award to Matt Gabbard.

Laura Long Chat

A Chat with Ms. Laura

Laura Long, who served as a member of the Lost Colony Choir from 1984-2021, will be hosting a Zoom Chat in lieu of her traditional reception, this Sunday, August 14th, at 4pm. For many years, this reception is the highlight of the summer for the congregation of Mt. Olivet Methodist Church and members of the Lost Colony Company.

Please, come celebrate Ms. Laura as summer comes to a close on the Outer Banks.

The Zoom link is pasted below:

Join Zoom Meeting:


Meeting ID: 641 642 0867