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.

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.

Dominion Energy funds new LED Lighting for the Waterside Theatre

Dominion Energy’s External Affairs Representative, Winnie Wiseman (center), presented a $5,000 check to Bill Coleman, CEO (left) and Lance Culpepper, Associate Producer (right), of the Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA)

The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation awarded The Lost Colony this grant to help the production cut energy costs with new LED technology.  The funding replaces 8 critically needed older spotlights at risk for failing during a performance.

The new LED lighting technology draws less electricity and generates less heat, reducing the theatre’s carbon footprint.  The highly rated (IP65) LED fixtures are designed to withstand the extreme moisture of a coastal environment which can rapidly deteriorate lighting equipment in an outdoor theatre.  The new instrument’s state-of-the-art technology can achieve special theatrical effects easily controlled by a computer which is far less labor intensive and efficient – generating additional savings for the production.

Updating the theatre’s lighting fixtures is part of a major project that The Lost Colony must soon undertake.  The existing lighting infrastructure at the Waterside Theatre was installed in 1996, and a major renovation of this critical foundation will be required within the next five years to preserve the integrity of the production.  At completion, state-of-the-art theatre technology will enhance the production, engaging future generations with this region’s unique American history while conserving energy.

For more information about how Dominion Energy supports nonprofit causes and their energy conservation programs, visit

Tshombe Selby, Lost Colony Alum, at The Met

After years of watching magic happen on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, Tshombe Selby is standing in the middle of it. Read more about Lost Colony alum, Tshombe in the full article here!

The Lost Colony Grand Tasting – The Best Wine Festival Around

This is what the perfect wine festival would look like. There would be a light breeze off a beautiful body of water, with plenty of sunshine, of course. There would be live music; maybe some jazz in one area of the tasting and the beautiful winsome voice of a folk singer and guitarist elsewhere.

And wine…lots and lots of wine to taste. More than a 100 different flavors and tastes of the varietals of the world. Some beer might be nice to go with that, for those who may prefer beer or want a little variety.

Food—there would have to be a lot of that—the good food, the dishes that the best chefs prepare.

And best of all, little or no lines to sample the wine or the beer or grab a quick but perfectly prepared hors d’œuvres.

That is exactly what the 3rd Annual Lost Colony Wine and Culinary Grand Tasting was all about on the last Saturday in September.

The body of water? That would be the Albemarle Sound and as the day wore on a wonderful light breeze blew from the north. The sun never failed all day. Warm? A bit, but then the breeze would come off the water and sitting outside sipping a glass of wine and nibbling on mini crab cake seemed about as good as it gets.

Inside the SoundStage Theatre, the large pavilion-like building backstage at The Lost Colony, there was wine. Wines from all over the world, from North Carolina to Australia, Europe, South America, California. Whites, reds, roses, sparkling wines, champagnes.

The key, in that situation, is to pace yourself. And maybe take two or three sips and then pour the wine out—admittedly often a heartbreaking decision.

But along the way, some wonderful wines were sampled.

There was a beautiful Australian Shiraz, the 2017 Vinaceous Snake Charmer. Smooth, wonderful fruit and a bit of the pepper expected in a shiraz. There was a Champagne Trio OBX was pouring in the VIP lounge. The R Dumont Brut was everything a French brut Champagne is supposed to be—just a hint of fruit, dry, with tight bubbles and marvelously refreshing.

Wine is, of course, a very individual taste, but in that setting, it would be hard to imagine there wasn’t a wine somewhere for every palate.

Rating food may be even more an individual preference than wine, but Cafe Lachine’s delightful garlicky Pamlico poached shrimp over veggie pesto was a standout. As was the peppery lobster bisque from Ten O Six. That is individual taste, but everything sampled was very good.

Inside the SoundStage the beautiful vocals of Jessica Hudson combined with the acoustic guitar of Thorne Wiggs created a wonderful musical backdrop for the day. Out in the Beer Garden, the breezeway leading to the SoundStage Theatre, Joe Mapp and the Coordinates were playing some of the coolest jazz around. It’s all part of what goes into making an event so special.

In the beer garden there was a story that’s worth noting. Somehow Ocracoke’s 1718 Brewery managed to get their beers to the Grand Tasting. No small feat since the beer is brewed on Ocracoke Island, but somehow, through relay systems, a lot of driving and coordination among various parties, the beer was there.

The Wine and Culinary Weekend—that’s what it is with a wine dinner on Friday evening and a Sunday brunch at Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe—has become the major fundraiser for The Lost Colony in the off season. The signature event, and best attended, of the weekend is the Grand Tasting. Only in its third year, the Grand Tasting has established itself as a well-run and enjoyable wine tasting as there could be.

That is by design, as Bill Coleman, CEO of The Lost Colony explains.

“We decided the first year, we don’t want to get any bigger than this,” he said. “If you have 1000 people in here, it would be miserable, and nobody would ever come back. Do we want to be the best 500-person wine fest? Yes, that was our goal. That’s what we want to do.”

Bill’s expectation to create the best possible experience for the event is shared by Cindy McGann, the Chair of the Festival’s Wine Committee.

“I don’t think there’s any other wine event like this in this region,” she said. “There’s no one else doing a wine tasting that has this many wines and the beer and the food all in one place. You can come for three hours and eat and drink and we’ve never run out. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.”

The one added touch, though that makes the Grand Tasting such a memorable experience is the setting. Located on the north end of Roanoke Island on the Albemarle Sound, everything seems to come together to create the ideal surroundings for a Grand Tasting.

“We have a real advantage in the wine fest business” Bill said. “We have the infrastructure. We don’t have an issue with parking. It’s a beautiful location. It’s a million-dollar view. People like it.”

Make your plans to attend the 3rd Annual Lost Colony Wine & Culinary Festival

Roanoke Island Historical Association is excited to announce the 3rd Annual Lost Colony Wine and Culinary Festival beginning on Friday, September 27th with a Vintner’s Dinner, followed by Saturday with the Grand Tasting and ending on Sunday with a Sparkling Wine Brunch. The Festival celebrates Roanoke Island’s history, legends and heritage with wine, handcrafted beer and sumptuous food. This fabulous, and not to be missed, event is a benefit for The Lost Colony production.

On Friday Night, September 27th, the Vintner’s Dinner will feature exquisitely prepared local and regionally sourced seafood and farm-to table produce dishes paired with wines from Chateau St. Michelle led by Teri Morgan, Development Manager from Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates of Woodinville, Washington. The creative collaboration of featured chefs include, Chef Sam McGann, co-owner and Chef of The Blue Point in Duck, along with pastry chef Jack Baumer from The Blue Point, Chef Johanna of Johanna’s Café Lachine in Wanchese, and Chefs Bryan Whitehurst and Mark Newsome of Greentail’s Seafood Market and Kitchen in Nags Head. Expect savory hors d’oeuvres plus two delectable courses and a heavenly dessert that you will not be able to say no to. The dinner also features a lively auction, with proceeds also benefitting The Lost Colony. The Vintner Dinner begins at 6PM at the lovely 108 Budleigh in Manteo. Tickets are $150 and seating is limited to 84 guests.

The Grand Tasting event is Saturday, September 28th, on the grounds of The Lost Colony theatre on Roanoke Island. Attendees will taste over 100 wines from around the world, discover local craft beers, sample savory local fare and enjoy live entertainment while surrounded by breathtaking views of the Roanoke and Pamlico Sounds. Great music by Jessica Hudson & Thorne Wiggs will further engage your soul while you bid on fabulous items in the Silent Auction. Featured restaurants and caterers inside the air-conditioned SoundStage Wine Tasting Room include: Basnight’s Lone Cedar Café, Blue Water Grill & Raw Bar, Argyle’s, Ortega’z, Ten 0 Six, Dawn’s Kitchen, Coastal Provisions and cheeses, fruits and meats from Food Lion. Attendees of the previous two years have proclaimed it to be the best event on the Outer Banks!

Beer Lovers will not be snubbed at the Festival! Included in the Grand Tasting is the popular and growing Beer Garden under the theatre’s house breezeway featuring local and regional craft beers, some of which are found only on the Outer Banks. Enjoy your favorite brew paired with delicious faire from Pigman’s Barbeque and the Weeping Radish Farm & Brewery restaurants with live entertainment from Joe Mapp and the Coordinates. Front Porch Cafe’s coffee will give you the energy to keep going!

Newly added to the Festival this year is the Sparkling Wine Brunch on Sunday, September 29th. The Brunch will be held at Basnight’s Lone Cedar Café in the Andy Griffith Room. Chateau St. Michelle sparkling wines will accompany a three-course meal featuring some of Basnight’s sublime specials. Enjoy beautiful views of the Roanoke Sound, plenty of wine and good company. Brunch is from 11:30AM to 1:30PM; arrive leisurely anytime in between. Tickets are $60 and are very limited.

The Lost Colony Wine & Culinary Festival is held on the grounds of The Lost Colony located at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island and is a fundraiser for the historical symphonic drama. For the Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 28th, doors open at 1PM for VIP ticket holders and at 2PM for General Admission. Currently VIP Tickets are $85 and GA tickets are $60 and can be purchased at Tickets prices go up $10 on Monday, September 23rd, so purchase your tickets today!

The Festival is generously funded by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, the Towne Bank Family of banking and insurance, Food Lion and other local and regional sponsors. For a full listing of the Festival’s supporters, event details and tickets please see our website, For more information, please call (252) 473-2127.


Virginia Dare Babies Announced!

Virginia Dare is one of the most influential historical figures to the Outer Banks. Dare County and Virginia Dare Trail are named in her honor. As the first English child born in the New World, her name is found in history books across America. In celebration of her 432nd birthday, The Lost Colony continues its beloved tradition of casting local infants to star in the performance. On August 17th, six babies perform throughout the evening, appearing in different scenes. Virginia Dare Night is sponsored by First National Bank.

Chis Carter, as Father Martin, with Baby Evelyn Grace Skaggs

This year we will feature two nights with live babies as Virginia Dare! The six babies that will make their debut on Saturday, August 17th are: Amelia Merrill, daughter of Curt and Sarah Merrill of Manteo, NC; Athena Scarborough, daughter of Fields and Savanah Scarborough of Manteo, NC; Jamie Beacham, daughter of Lee and Mollie Beacham of Kill Devil Hills, NC; Evelyn Grace Skaggs, daughter of Rachel Hayman and Shawn Skaggs of Kill Devil Hills, NC; Silas Cohill, son of Alex and Emily Cohill of Nags Head, NC; Hinton Silver, son of Duncan and Alice Silver of Wanchese, NC; and Guinevere Sipe, daughter of Jedidian and Krista Sipe of Kill Devil Hills, NC.

The six babies that will make their debut Tuesday, August 20th, the actual Christening anniversary of Virginia Dare, are: Maggie McKenney, daughter of Joshua and Bethany McKenney of Nags Head, NC; Allison Rippons, daughter of Toni and Bennie Rippons of Manns Harbor, NC; Pennington Mann, daughter of Tanner and Melissa Mann of Manteo, NC; Samuel Tucker, son of Andy and Johanna Tucker of Kitty Hawk, NC; William Davis, son of Kaitlin and William Davis of Chocowinity, NC; and Wyatt Cooper, son of Stormy Cooper of Manteo, NC. The 2019 Virginia Dare babies will be added to a long list of community members who participated in the historic drama at a very early age.

On Saturday, August 17th, before the show, come celebrate Virginia Dare’s 432nd birthday at the Virginia Dare Birthday Celebration. Join us House Right of the Waterside Theatre for activities from 5:30 – 7:00 PM, provided by company members of The Lost Colony and National Park Service, followed by cake from Harris Teeter for children under 12.  The Virginia Dare Birthday Celebration is free to the public and is sponsored by First National Bank.


Jack Foster Scott

Long time supporter and friend of The Lost Colony, Jack Foster Scott was the official photographer of the show in the 1970s. Jack made his final march July 17 in Raleigh, read more from The Outer Banks Voice:

Jack Foster Scott of Manteo and Raleigh, July 17

Feeding Starving Artists is a Passion for Roxie & Rufus of The Dunes Restaurant

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf

Six nights a week throughout the hot summer, the 120 company members of The Lost Colony perform in front of a house filled with first time visitors and returning fans for two hours wearing heavily draped costumes of course fabric, leather, fur and armor. It’s hard work and they love what they do, but as most young artists find; actors wages don’t allow for fine dining. Between rehearsals and second jobs, a good meal is hard to come by and is very much appreciated.

Pictured left to right Sarah Pritchard, Roxie Pritchard, Neal Pritchard, Blake Pritchard and Rufus Pritchard of The Dunes Restaurant holding Skipper Bell Award, and Kevin Bradley, Vice Chair Roanoke Island Historical Association.

Roxie and Rufus Pritchard, owners of The Dunes Restaurant and Grits Grill in Nags Head, are passionate fans of The Lost Colony production. They speak highly of the production and how important the production is to this region for tourism and the rich history it shares with our visitors. Roxie and Rufus are dedicated longtime supporters and have found a special way to support The Lost Colony with their famous Dunes’ style southern hospitality. On Opening Night after the first performance, The Dunes delivers to the Waterside Theatre a delicious meal of fried chicken, Carolina barbeque and all the fixings for all the company members to welcome them and celebrate their first night. At the end of the season, The Dunes Restaurant delivers another special meal to the company members to thank them for a season of hard work. Proclaimed the best meals of the season, company members love The Dunes and the wonderful meals they receive. Roxie and Rufus even make it a point to hire company members to help in the restaurant. It is a much appreciated and deeply rewarding partnership.

This year The Dunes Restaurant, Roxie and Rufus, were presented the Skipper Bell Award from the Roanoke Island Historical Association. Established 26 years ago, The Skipper Bell Award pays tribute to the late Albert Quentin “Skipper” Bell, long-time champion of the mission and vision of the Roanoke Island Historical Association, and architect of Waterside Theatre. This award recognizes remarkable encouragement of The Lost Colony, as demonstrated by Skipper Bell and his family, and honors sustained benefaction to the well-being of The Lost Colony. What better benefaction is there than to feed a group of starving artists!