|Interest caught on as the lecture series began to tour across the United States, featuring scholars who studied and portrayed historical figures lecturing on historical and political issues while encouraging audience interaction. These tour groups continued their popularity until the late 1920s. Then, with the invention of radio and the film industry, the traveling tour group died off.
Over half a century later, many cities across the United States revived the Chautauqua lecture series and, in 1991, the Nevada Humanities decided to present the cultural event in Reno. In 1993, while the Nevada Humanities committee was planning a summer Chautauqua performance in Reno, a group of residents in Boulder City wanted to make history come alive in Southern Nevada by offering a community performance of their own. And so, the Boulder City Chautauqua took hold and has been continuing every September thereafter.
Since that first successful festival in 1993 - with an audience of more than 500 - Chautauqua performers have been invited to Boulder City each year. Boulder City Chautauqua has offered both an aura of excitement and an opportunity to interact with historical experts.
For the first nine years the festival was held under a huge red, white, and blue tent in Bicentennial Park, and in 2002 the performances were moved to the Boulder Dam Theatre where they have continued every year since. From its inception, Boulder City Chautauqua has been hosted by the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum with grants obtained from the Nevada Humanities and with contributions from local businesses and private citizens.
Today, history continues to live through the Boulder City Chautauqua, and the 2008 theme will be “All the World is a Stage,” featuring two scholars who will take on the characters of Henry VIII and Eugene O’Neill.
On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.