Fifty Years of The Lost Colony Traditions


The Rachita family has been vacationing on the Outer Banks and attending The Lost Colony production for more than fifty years! Alex and Judy Rachita began bringing their sons David and Michael to the Outer Banks when they were young boys.

Originally from Ohio, the family has become more spread out, living in Texas, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina, and enjoy getting together for their annual Outer Banks family vacations. 

Michael and David have continued the tradition that began with their parents, of coming to see The Lost Colony, with their children; Alexis, Justin, Joshua, Sarah, Eric, Thomas, and Chad. And now, another generation has begun, with the birth of David and Laura’s first grandchild, who had her first Outer Banks visit this year.


The annual visits to The Lost Colony most certainly created wonderful memories for the Rachita Family. When David Rachita was in the third grade, during a history lesson, he shared with his teacher and classmates a brochure from his trip to The Lost Colony.  Coincidentally, his daughter Alexis did her second-grade wax museum project as Eleanor Dare, with her baby doll Virginia Dare, named for Eleanor’s first child and the first English child born in the New World. 

Mr. Rachita’s fondest memories of past The Lost Colony performances include when the cast & crew used to greet ticket holders as they entered Waterside Theatre, and also David and Michael’s enthusiasm during the fight scenes! The Rachita’s also recall visiting the local Methodist church during one of their Outer Banks visits and getting to meet Andy Griffith! 


On July 23rd, 2023, The Rachita Family visited Waterside Theatre to attend The Lost Colony and gave us their feedback on this year’s performance.

 “The animal puppets were an excellent addition to the story telling and we all appreciated the impact of new video and audio effects of the updated drama.  The modern effects really brought the outdoor theater alive.”-Michael Rachita. 

Justin thought the special effects were awesome and many family members were glad to see the Final March at the end of the performance has not changed at all.

“That is such an emotional moment that always brings us to tears.” -Mrs. Rachita

According to Michael, speaking of his Mother, AKA The Rachita Matriarch, the Final March “gets her every time.”

We cannot thank The Rachita’s enough for sharing with us their experience through the years of attending The Lost Colony.

Fifty Years of The Lost Colony Traditions-The Rachita Family

The 86th Season of The Lost Colony runs through August 26th, 2023.
Purchase your tickets.

Virginia Dare Night 2023

Virginia Dare Night August 18th

The Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA)is proud to announce the annual Virginia Dare Night on Friday, August 18th, 2023.  Virginia Dare Night commemorates the  436th anniversary of the birth of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World to colonist Eleanor Dare. 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

The 2023 Virginia Dare babies that will make their debut on Friday, August 18th are: Mason Gray, daughter of Ellery Sigler & William Gray, Francesca Rosalie Estrada, daughter of Luis & Amanda Estrada, Harper Lee Ambrose, daughter of Ben & Savanah Ambrose, and Corbin Powell, son of Whitney Holt & John Powell.

There will be an awards ceremony starting at 8:20, which will begin with the presentation of the 2023 Virginia Dare babies and their families. The Lost Colony performance will begin shortly after the awards ceremony concludes. Reserve Your Tickets Here.

N.C. First Lady Appears in The Lost Colony

North Carolina’s First Lady, Kristin Cooper, visited The Lost Colony on Tuesday, August 1st, 2023 and was featured in a cameo appearance in the production that evening. The Roanoke Island Historical Association hosted a pre-performance reception for Mrs. Cooper where she spoke about the production and the opportunity to be part of the 86 year old performance.
“It was such an honor to be included in last night’s production of The Lost Colony. The cast and crew are phenomenal, and I encourage everyone to see this historic play. Truly, this production is a North Carolina treasure.”-Kristin Cooper.

All photos provided by Cindy McEnery Photography.
Learn more about North Carolina’s First Lady.

Monday Nights at The Lost Colony

Monday nights at The Lost Colony are for the kids! Sponsored by Kitty Hawk Kites, kids 12 and under are free every Monday!

Monday Nights Are A Blast!

Join us every for toy and kite demonstrations by the Kitty Hawk Kites team! All kids 12 and under are free. Use code: Kitty Hawk Kites Kid when booking online!

Meet The Cast on Mondays

Also on Monday nights at The Lost Colony, stay after the show and get autographs and photos with members of the cast!

Reserve your tickets for Monday Night Kids Night at The Lost Colony.

North Carolina First Lady at The Lost Colony

Roanoke Island, NC – The First Lady of North Carolina, Kristin Cooper, will visit The Lost Colony August 1 and 2 – and make a cameo appearance in the show.

During her visit, Mrs. Cooper, wife of Governor Roy Cooper, will tour the Roanoke Island Historical Association archives. She will view what the First Colony Foundation believes is the site of the Native village where Sir Walter Raleigh’s 1584 expedition made first contact with the Algonquin tribes. 

The First Lady, who has a background in theater, will make her guest appearance during the August 1 performance of The Lost Colony. The cast and crew are looking forward to her joining them on stage.

Roy and I have long been avid supporters of the arts, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the talented cast and crew of The Lost Colony on stage. As someone with a background in theater, it’s a special honor for me to be a part of this historic production.” – Kristin Cooper, First Lady of NC

The Lost Colony is performed on the Outer Banks from June 2nd-August 26th 2023 at 8:30pm, Monday through Saturday.

Reserve your tickets to all performances of The Lost Colony at or by calling the Box Office at 252-473-6000 12-5pm. The Lost Colony is sponsored by PNC Bank. 

Spectrum News Feature on The Lost Colony

Spectrum News 1 North Carolina recently visited Waterside Theatre and The Lost Colony. Lauren Howard interviewed Ethan Oxendine and Joey Cassella and they discussed enhancements to this year’s performance as well as the important new cultural elements of the production.

View the full news story on Spectrum News 1 North Carolina here.

The 86th Season of The Lost Colony runs June 2-August 26, 2023 at 8:30pm. The Native American Pre-Show is Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Buy your The Lost Colony Tickets.

‘Zoom’ Virtual Backgrounds

Are you utilizing Zoom for your virtual meetings in this stay/work at home time? Make your background more fun with our Lost Colony virtual backgrounds! Download now and show your support for The Lost Colony!

Simply, click on the image, right click and save image. Then upload to Zoom for your Virtual Background. Enjoy!

Burning Girl Zoom Background Theatre Zoom Background Sunset2 Zoom BackgroundQueen Zoom Background Old Tom Zoom Background Natives Zoom Background Colony Together Zoom BackgroundSunset Zoom Background

The Lost Colony’s Covid-19 Update # 2

The Lost Colony Cancels 83rd Season in Response to COVID-19 Virus Concerns

 The Roanoke Island Historical Association’s (RIHA) Board of Directors has cancelled its 83rd season of Paul Green’s The Lost Colony which is performed nightly each summer at Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island. This is the first cancelled season since World War II in 1944 and comes as a result of the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 virus.  RIHA did not want to risk the safety of its ticket buyers, cast, crew, staff and volunteers.  The RIHA Board of Directors stayed in close contact with county and state officials and determined this was the best course of action for everyone involved.

“Several times throughout our storied history, the community has rallied around The Lost Colony.  Whether it was to help repair storm damage as a result of hurricanes or devastation caused by fire – every time the local community has stepped up and helped the Colony recover.  We feel this is the appropriate time for The Lost Colony to take a step back and to return the favor and rally around the community that has done so much for us”, said RIHA Board Chair Kevin Bradley.  “These are difficult times and that creates an environment where difficult decisions are required.  And this certainly was a difficult decision for our Board of Directors to make – but I believe the correct one in light of what our community is facing”.

The Lost Colony outdoor drama is the “grandfather” of all outdoor dramas and is produced by the Roanoke Island Historical Association, a non-profit whose mission is to celebrate the history of the first English colonies on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and to honor the founders of The Lost Colony symphonic drama through drama, education, and literature.

All tickets purchased for this season’s performances will be eligible for a full refund or can be applied to 2021 performances when the show re-opens to the public.

Contact The Lost Colony office at 252-473-2127 or visit our website at



 Q: What factors were considered in making the decision to cancel the 2020 production of The Lost Colony?

A: We monitored every local, state and federal agency for 45 days. We also spoke to past Board Chairs, former Board members, alumni, staff, and local businesses.  We monitored other outdoor theaters as well.  We have also been monitoring regional economies and saw that from the states where our sales come from – over 80% were under Shelter-In-Place or Stay At Home orders. This is not only a local decision, but one that considered the economic impact on our regional ticket buyers. There was overwhelming data and feedback pointing us in this direction.


Q: Why not delay the opening of the season so that at least a partial season could be produced?

 A: Because there was no definitive indication that social restrictions will be lifted before June 1, the earliest we would be able to get the show up was 25-27 days after we received the go-ahead to do so.  This would put us into late June or early July in terms of an opening and the economics begin to fall apart at this point. Reports are also circulating about colleges and universities adjusting start times, and since a large percentage of our cast is comprised of college students, we could be faced with a loss of our cast earlier than usual. We studied various timelines and scenarios and once we passed through certain tollgates relative to dates, it became more and more clear that a delayed opening was not going to be possible.


Q: Will The Lost Colony be able to survive a season without the production and resulting revenue?

A: This is an important question. The answer is yes but we will need to make major adjustments in order to survive. Like all businesses, we will need to make difficult decisions, but we have a plan that will allow us to be ready for the 2021 season.


Q: What happens for ticket buyers who purchased tickets for the 2020 production?

A: There will be two paths forward for ticket buyers.  They can either get a full refund for tickets purchased for 2020 or we will honor their tickets for the 2021 season.  More details will follow soon, but these are the two paths moving forward.


Q: Will the Roanoke Island Historical Association do any kind of production this summer if things clear out by July 1 or later?

A: It is possible that we will offer some kind of stage production for our local community. We are looking at several options and will communicate as we make decisions. We believe art feeds the soul and if we can help heal the community with a production, we will do our best to accommodate.


Q: What about The Lost Colony Culinary and Wine Festival scheduled for late September.

A: We feel we have more time to monitor the situation and make a decision later this summer. Our plans are to move forward unless we see data later this summer that would make the event unworkable.


Q: Are there plans to move forward with The Lost Colony in 2021?

A: Absolutely! We will leverage this down time to become stronger and better resourced as we move forward.  Our goal will be to have the finest show ever staged at Waterside Theatre when the season opens next May.

William Ivey Long Sets a New Bar With His Design for Diana

The Tony Award-winning designer, also The Lost Colony’s Production Designer, reveals his sketches and plans to make the musical as fashionable as the Princess of Wales herself.

Read the full article in Playbill about William Ivey Long’s beautful costumes.

A Shout-Out to Target!

The Roanoke Island Historical Association wants to recognize Target and all Target Circle guests who participated in Target’s recent giving program and chose to reward us in support of The Lost Colony. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We are very grateful for the $438.56 received from Target today! And we are grateful to each and everyone of you who took the time to cast a vote for The Lost Colony production with your purchase rewards.

We also want to recognize The GoodCoin Foundation who facilitated in the Target Circle guest-directed giving program and helped spread the word about charitable giving. We are very appreciative of all that they do to support non-profits and corporate giving.

Lost Colony Alumni in Sesame Street Live!

Always exciting, and a proud moment, to see a Lost Colony Alumna dancing on the TODAY Show on NBC. The turquoise monster, Rosita, is Bethany Johnson, a former choir member in The Lost Colony 2016-2018!

lost colony alumni

The love and laughs from “Sesame Street” are now coming to the stage in “Sesame Street Live! Let’s Party!” Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster, Rosita and a few of their neighbors stop by Studio 1A with the show’s host, Juanita Dilia Olivo, for a fun performance!

Watch clip here from the TODAY Show.

The Lost Colony 2020 Open Auditions Announced

Manteo, NC- The Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA) has announced the dates for the local Outer Banks auditions for the 2020 season of The Lost Colony. Associate Producer for The Lost Colony, Lance Culpepper, has organized the auditions and will be joined by Ira David Wood III (director), McCrae Hardy (music director), Pam Atha (choreographer), and Robert Midgette (fight director).

Auditions are slated for Saturday, February 15, 2020, at Manteo High School, 829 Wingina Ave, Manteo, NC. Registration opens at 8:40 AM and auditions will begin at 9:00 AM. Everyone attending the auditions is requested to bring a recent photograph and resume. Additional information will be collected at the time of registration. All ages are encouraged to attend, auditions for those under the age of 18 begin at 9:00 AM.

Electronic/video auditions are also accepted. For full details and audition information, visit:

Alumni in The Nutcracker

Lost Colony Alumni, Jake Johnson and Gabe Donohue (second from left and far right, respectively)

A couple of dapper Lost Colony Alumni, Jake Johnson and Gabe Donohue recently graced the stage in Greenville, NC at the North Carolina Academy of Dance Arts’s 2019 performance of The Nutcracker.

Honoring Three Long-serving Directors Rotating off RIHA Board

Roanoke Island Historical Association would like to announce the appreciation of a job well done by some very special Board of Director members that will be rotating off at the end of 2019.

CHRISTOPHER L. SEAWELL [26 years] served RIHA as General Counsel for 17 years–1990-2007. Thereafter, he served as RIHA Chair for 3 years–2008-2010–during which time, in 2007, the Costume Shop, and most of the show’s costumes, burned. Chris successfully led the organization through a major fundraising campaign, coordinating with the NPS, NC Department of Cultural Resources and Dare County Tourist Bureau to secure funding for the construction of a new Costume Shop, and the redesign and construction of the production’s costumes. This was the first re-design of the costumes since 1937.

Chris served as Vice-Chair for one year in 2015; and as a non-officer director in 2011, Vice-Chair in 2014 – 2015, and again as a non-officer during 2017-2019, resulting in a total service to RIHA of 26 years. His committee participation highlights include By-Laws and Endowment. His wife, Kathy has supported RIHA functions through her expertise in hospitality functions and volunteer recruitment. Chris Seawell’s guiding principle has always been to keep the local Dare County people supportive of RIHA.

WILLIAM MASSEY [13 years] served as director for 4 years, when RIHA was under the chairmanship of Tom White (1996-97), John Hughes (1998) and Ellen Newbold (1999). He served as director for 7 years, 2011-2017, when RIHA was under the chairmanship variously of Paul Tine (2011), Steve King (2012- part of 2017), and Bea Basnight (part of 2017). Bill served as RIHA Chair for 2 years, 2018-2019–guiding the board through new legislative waters; an administrative and board assessment conducted by professional consultants; and the development of a strong foundation for a strategic plan and a capital campaign.

Bill Massey’s expertise lies in Advancement (development & marketing), strategic planning, finance, fundraising and management. During his 13-year tenure he has shared his talents with RIHA–from developing long range plans, working with government agencies, creating silent auctions, structuring advancement plans, taking perfect notes and making sure that hospitality and professional courtesy dominate every activity sponsored by RIHA. His committee work includes, legislative, Festival Park, advancement, endowment, marketing and keeping a weather eye on the artistic production of the show.

It was Massey’s suggestion that the show’s historian be a park ranger which was well received by our modern audiences.  Massey spent many evenings tirelessly greeting The Lost Colony audiences as they arrived for the performance welcoming them and conversing with them.

Pictured left to right: Bill Massey, Bea Basnight and Chris Seawell


BEA BASNIGHT [9 years] served as Secretary for five years, 2011-2015; Vice-Chair for 1 and 2/3rds years (2016-part of 2017); and chair for about 1/3 of a year (2017); and director for 2 years, 2018-2019. Bea was nominated to the Board after she and friends had been members of a fundraising/development committee for RIHA, where she championed very successful Annual GALA netting a considerable amount of money for RIHA. Her committee work while serving on the Board is defined by chairing the nominating committee for 9 years; serving on the education committee with its support of the annual School Matinee, developing the summer youth camps and bringing the pilot of Mystery of the Lost Colony to Dare County schools (she is chair of the Dare County School Board–a political post); and continuing her work on fundraisers–now focused on the Wine Festival where she will continue to serve.

Bea’s many years as a school teacher trained her to get a specific task done in 55 minutes. Ergo, when she was chair, her board meetings were expertly timed, key topics were punctuated, and everyone remained on topic during discussions.

Roanoke Island Historical Association is fortunate and honored for their time, passionate efforts and the successes put forth by these dedicated individuals to the organization.