Lost Colony Outdoor Drama

Annagrace studied the Lost Colony story in May during our month of homeschooling after moving to NC and I had been promising to take her to see the play about the Lost Colony all summer and we finally made it there on Friday evening!

If you have never heard of the Lost Colony it is the story of the English settlers who came to Roanoke Island with Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587.  They set up a fort on the island and shortly after Sir Walter Raleigh left to obtain supplies.  The brief trip turned into 2 years and when he came back to the fort in 1590 all the colonists were gone and the only clue as to their whereabouts was the word “Croatoan” carved on a tree.

There are theories about what happened to them–the Indians killed them, they scattered about into different areas (including Croatoan island), they all died of starvation and disease (however no corpses/remains have ever been recovered there).  No one is certain what happened to them.  In fact, there is a huge DNA project currently being done to try and determine what happened.

Every summer the outdoor drama “The Lost Colony” is performed in the very spot where this fort originally was located.  It has been in production for 72 years and is the longest running outdoor drama in the world.

I had seen the play at least 4 times previously and I’ve always enjoyed it.  We decided to take the backstage tour before the play.  It was totally worth it and if you ever go I recommend it!  It was only $7 for a backstage tour ticket and we got to see and learn so much.  And the best part is you are already in the theater at the end of the tour so you do not need to wait in line to get in!

I borrowed my mom’s camera because I didn’t want to lug my big ole SLR in with me.  I was kinda sorry that I didn’t just go ahead and bring it but I did get some good shots with Mom’s camera!

Our tour guide–who I found out was a junior at James Madison University.  What a small world!

tour guide

Here’s Annagrace before–she was so excited!

AG before

I loved hearing about how the actors are transformed into Indians.  Let’s just say it involves a pressure washer and some dark make-up!  There are segregated seats behind the stage for the Indians and the Colonists because the make-up tends to rub off and they don’t want to get it on the costumes!  They also have their own bathrooms!

Indian

And speaking of costumes….oh how I loved the costume shop!  What a fun summer job–mending, ironing and sewing the costumes.  I think it would be fun anyway!  We learned that the colonists costumes are rarely washed because it takes FOUR HOURS to wash one costume by hand!  So instead of washing them they turn them inside out and spray them down with a mixture of water, a dryer sheet and vodka!  Yes, vodka!

Apparently the vodka is a disinfectant and since it evaporates quickly the costumes do not take long to dry.  And since liquor is not allowed in National Parks and the site of the play is in a National Park they have to immediately place a dryer sheet in the bottles of vodka as soon as they arrive at the shop to show that they are not going to drink it!

costume shop

Here is a scene from the play.  We had great seats–4th row right on the end.  There are side stages too.  On one side is the Indian stage and on our side was the Queen stage–Annagrace chose the Queen side!

stage set

And here is Annagrace afterwards with the queen!  She was so excited to have her photo taken with her!  This outfit was described as the Queen’s “lounging wear”.  This would have been something the Queen would have worn in her bedroom–her sweat pants so to speak!  Her other gown had 750 hand sewn pearls on it!  Now you see why they have to be handwashed!

AG with the queen

And here is me and my girl.  This was actually taken at the Aquarium before the play.  We have an annual pass so we decided to stop there for a couple of hours to look around.

me and AG

Such a fun trip!  It was nice to spend time alone with my oldest daughter.  I need to take time more often to spend one-on-one time with my little girls!

We give 4 thumbs up to the Lost Colony!  If you ever visit the Outer Banks be sure to take a trip to Manteo and see the play!  (And here’s a hint–check the Sunny Guide for coupons.  They usually have $2 off coupons.  AND if you go on Saturdays, kids tickets for the general seating areas are 1/2 price!).

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4 Responses to “Lost Colony Outdoor Drama”


  1. 1 Lana Daniels August 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Sounds like a lot of fun. Since my husband is from NC we spend a lot of time down there. I have seen brochures for this drama and have always been interested in it. Now that I have read about your experience I am even more interested.

    • 2 lsaufley August 10, 2009 at 4:39 pm

      Where in NC is he from? I grew up in Beaufort County–about 1 1/2 hours from the Outer Banks.

      • 3 Lana Daniels August 10, 2009 at 7:28 pm

        Charlotte, NC is where he is from. He even went to UNC Charlotte. My first experience with NC with him was for our second date he took me out of state to the Charlotte Renaissance Faire.

  2. 4 Heather and Reber August 13, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Haha I’m totally gonna use the vodka trick (j/k). I do hate laundry though. Dishes are cool. Cooking rocks. But laundry and sewing? Forget it.


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