Carolina Folk Plays of 1923 PDF Print Email
Written by Leilani Pickett   
Friday, January 27, 2017 12:19 PM

On February 12, 1923, Wilmingtonians flocked to the Academy of Music, now known as Thalian Hall, to watch the Carolina Playmakers perform three folk plays. The NC Dames hosted the popular event, and many of the Dames were named as patronesses of the production. The Carolina Playmakers were a group of theatre students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They wrote and produced the three original plays, basing them on their own experiences as North Carolinians. Much like the NC Dames themselves, the Playmakers were aiming to preserve the history, locations and traditions of North Carolina.

 
  The first play is “Agatha,” a romance of the Old South, set during reconstruction after the Civil War. The second play, “Off Nags Head,” is a tragedy based on the mystery of Theodoisa Burr, a young girl who went missing in 1812 while travelling in a boat off of the Outer Banks. She was never seen again, but her portrait was later suspiciously found in the hut of a fisherman. The third play, “Wilbur’s Cousin,” is a comedy about college life in Chapel Hill. Together, the romance, tragedy and comedy paint a vivid picture of life in North Carolina during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

The February 12, 1923 edition of the local newspaper reported that the Carolina Folk plays were very popular and drew a large audience to the Academy of Music on opening night. After the performance, the Carolina Playmakers and their director, Frederick H. Koch, were entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Devereaux H. Lippitt at their home on Nun Street.

In addition, several members of the NC Dames were named in the paper as patronesses of the production, including Mrs. H. Bluethenthal, Mrs. Payson Willard, Mrs. Henry Bear, Mrs. Haywood Clark, Mrs. F. J. Duls, Mrs. John DeWitt, Mrs. J. G. Murphy, Mrs. James Cowan, Mrs. W. D. MacMillan, Jr., Mrs. A. M. Waddell, Mrs. William Latimer, Mrs. W. B. Thorpe, Mrs. Walter Williamson, Mrs. W. N. Harriss, and Miss Jennie Murchison.