We were so sad to be unable to celebrate the 434th birthday of Virginia Dare this season due to COVID-19. The celebration of Virginia Dare’s birth is the very reason that The Lost Colony production was first put on in 1937, and to this day it is our most important performance of the year. It’s important not only for our company of actors and technicians, but it’s an incredibly special day for the people of Roanoke Island as well. Every year, Roanoke Island natives and tourists alike gather at the theatre on August 18th to see live babies portray Virginia Dare for that evening’s performance. It’s a tradition that dates back to 1937 and is one of the oldest traditions on the east coast. While we were unable to carry on this tradition in 2021, we still want to honor the families that were to solidify their place in history as a Virginia Dare Family. Below are portraits of the families and a brief questionnaire about their connection to The Lost Colony and to Roanoke Island.
The Meredith Family (Daughter Everly)
- How long has your family been in the Outer Banks? The Midgette and Etheridge family have a long tradition living on the Outer Banks- both families were shipwrecked here many years ago!
- What, in your opinion, makes Roanoke Island such a special place? Roanoke Island is a quaint island rich in history.
- What does The Lost Colony mean to you and your family? Been a tradition since the 1921 film organized and produced by Roanoke Island natives and locals.
- What do you think The Lost Colony means to the Outer Banks? The Lost colony is an important historical and cultural event that brings thousands of people to the Outer Banks.
- Do you see a career in show business for your child? Would love to see her play a lead role in the Lost Colony in twenty years and enjoy all the cultural arts available to her
The Dayan Family (Daughter Tessa)
- How long has your family been in the Outer Banks? Our family has been in the Outer Banks since the 1940s. Tessa’s great grandfather started a small business called Gray’s Gifts & Beach Accessories, now called Gray’s Family Department Store, that is still being run by her great aunt and great uncle today. Tessa’s grandfather grew up in the Outer Banks and brought her mother to visit here as a child. They have many cherished memories of playing on the beach and spending time in this beautiful area together. Tessa’s mother moved here after college and has been teaching at Nags Head Elementary School for 15 years. Tessa’s father was born in Argentina, grew up in South Florida, and moved to the Outer Banks in the 1990s. He has been a firefighter for Nags Head for 23 years.
- What, in your opinion, makes Roanoke Island such a special place? In our opinion, Roanoke Island is a special place because of two things; the small town community feel and the rich historical legacy.
- What does The Lost Colony mean to you and your family? The Lost Colony is special to our family because Tessa’s great great grandmother owned a little shop called The Doll House from about 1946-1965 that was located near the Waterside Theater. In this shop, she made and sold Lost Colony character dolls that were sold on location as well as shipped all over the world. Pictures of her doll house are attached. Also, interestly enough, Tessa’s great uncle (Walter Gray) was baptized in the little chapel of the Lost Colony. He is reportedly the first child baptized on that site since Virginia Dare herself.
- What do you think The Lost Colony means to the Outer Banks? The Lost Colony is an integral part of the Outer Banks because it is a fascinating reenactment of a piece of our local, state, and American history. Visitors and locals alike enjoy being whisked away to a pivotal moment in our country’s history at the beautiful Waterside Theater.
- Do you see a career in show business for your child? As Tessa’s parents and biggest champions, we will encourage her to follow her dreams and passions. If those dreams and passions lead her into a career in show business, we will wholeheartedly support her.
The Barker Family (Son Robert Nelson)
- How long has your family been in the Outer Banks? Almost 35 years for Alex’s side of the family. Rob grew up just inland in Edenton NC and has been residing in Manteo full time since 2008. He spent many summers down here as a child.
- What, in your opinion, makes Roanoke Island such a special place? Its quaintness, caring community, and rich history.
- What does The Lost Colony mean to you and your family? Alex was in the colony for seven summers as a colonist & indian child. Nelson’s aunt, uncle and grandmother have all been members in the cast as well. In addition to the season commitments, both of Nelson’s big sisters, Hollowell and Mabel Gray, were Virginia Dare babies in 2016 and 2018. Rob remembers attending the show as a child with his family.
- What do you think The Lost Colony means to the Outer Banks? The Outer Banks as a whole is rich in history. We believe that The Lost Colony sits at the foundation of that. Not only is it history for the nation, the actual history of the show is something of its own as well. It is deeply embedded in all of those who have been a part of the Lost Colony community for generations, and hopefully generations to come.
- Do you see a career in show business for your child? We will support whatever any of our children aspire to do. If any of them are interested in a career in show business we will encourage them.