Arts & Culture

Best Outdoor Theaters In Charlotte

June 3, 2013 8:00 AM

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547896 3493672866188 598896486 n Best Outdoor Theaters In CharlotteWatching a theater performance outside on a summer evening is the ideal for a family outing or date with a special someone. Here in Charlotte, there is an outdoor Shakespeare Festival and other great performances a short drive away. North Carolina boasts the first three outdoor drama productions in the nation. From plays about Native American tradition, early settlers and the Underground Railroad to Shakespeare and everything in between, these awe-inspiring natural amphitheaters are the place to be.
The Green
400 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28285
(704) 625-1288
www.charlotteshakespeare.comThe Green is a pretty little urban pocket park near Uptown Charlotte’s arts district. It is the venue for the Charlotte Shakespeare Festival, in its eighth year. “The Taming of the Shrew”, Shakespeare’s comedy about how a husband manages his outspoken, sometimes violent wife, continues through June 16. This year’s production features performances before the show and workshops to educate young folk about Shakespeare. There is no admission fee.
Daniel Boone Amphitheater
591 Horn in the West Road
Boone, NC 28607
(828) 264-2120
www.horninthewest.comThe third longest running outdoor theatrical production in the U.S. is “The Horn in the West,” also authored by the prolific playwright Dr. Kermit Hunter. Daniel Boone, frontier man and a North Carolinian, is celebrated in this drama which has run each summer since 1952. Tales of resistance to the British during the Revolutionary War and westward movement are told. The Hickory Ridge Homestead and the Daniel Boone Native Gardens are other features not be missed. There is no set admission fee, but donations are accepted. The play runs from June 28 through August 17.
The Mountainside Theater
564 Tsali Blvd.
Cherokee, NC 28779
(866) 554-4557
www.cherokeeadventure.comThe script for “Unto These Hills” was written as a thesis for a master’s degree by Kermit Hunter when he was a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. It is the second longest running outdoor drama in the United States. Nearly 6 million tickets have been sold since the play opened in 1950. Performed at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains in Cherokee and well worth the drive from Charlotte, this is a tale of invasion by European settlers, the forced exit of the Cherokee from their native land via the Trail of Tears, and their modern day existence. This year, a new director will implement changes in all aspects of the production to tell the tale with more historic and cultural accuracy. The play runs from June through August 17.Related: Celebrating Native American History and Culture in Charlotte

Fort Hamby Park Amphitheater
Fort Hamby Park
1534 S. Recreation Road
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
(336) 838-4278
www.bleumoonproductions.comTom Dooley: A Wilkes County Legend” relates the fate of Tom Dula, made famous in folk song by the Kingston Trio in 1958. Dula was found guilty of killing his lover, Laura Foster and hanged. At his trial, no less a lawyer than the governor of the state, Zebulon Vance, defended him, but he lost the case and the appeal. Some say that a jealous former lover killed Tom’s pregnant fiance, and Tom took the blame for love of his old flame, a married woman. Bleu Moon Productions has taken over this dramatic presentation for the first time in 2013 for a July run, but the venue remains the same.
Snow Camp Outdoor Theater
301 Drama Road
Snow Camp, NC 27349
(336) 376-6948
www.snowcampdrama.comSnow Camp started as a village settled by Quakers near Burlington. The Quakers are featured in two outdoor productions running from July 4 to August 24, “The Sword of Peace” which has run more than 30 years, and “Pathway to Freedom”, presented since 1994. The former dramatizes the peaceful Quakers’ predicament during the Revolutionary War. “Pathway to Freedom” depicts Quaker involvement in the Underground Railroad, when Quakers provided safe houses for runaway slaves. Plan to visit the outdoor museum before the show starts.Related: Fun For The Road — Car Games For Your Next Road Trip

Jacquelin Celeste Peters has produced award winning radio programs at WPFW Pacifica-Washington. She is a Culture and Events Examiner in Charlotte, North Carolina, which she calls home. Her work can be found at

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