MOUNDRIDGE — The Moundridge Arts Council is celebrating old traditions by starting new ones.
The council will present “Moundridge Memories,” a play celebrating the 130-year history and beginnings of the community, on July 7 and 8.
“If our forefathers didn’t have the insight to make these things happen, Moundridge would’t be here today,” said Leon Guhr, who will portray one of Moundridge founders, Thornton Cole, in the production. “It’s a different perspective because you’re hearing the stories from the other side. We know stories about the Cole family, but here I’m stepping into the perspective of someone who was there.”
The play, researched and written by Moundridge resident Rosemary Fisher, highlights six major turning points in the community’s history in six vignettes.
“Each scene kind of represented different people and groups in town,” Fisher explained. “It was difficult to pick just six scenes out of 130 years. There’s so many things that people now take for granted, so my thought was to explain them through entertainment. We call it ‘sneaky history’ because we’re educating the community while having fun.”
Performances are at 7 p.m. on July 7 and 8 at First Mennonite Church of Christian in Moundridge, 719 S. Christian Avenue in Moundridge. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12.
Moundridge Arts Council members can purchase tickets for $6 for adults or $3 for children ages 5-12. Tickets are available at the door or can be reserved in advance by calling 620-345-8979.
Director Patricia Middleton hopes audience members will see each actor’s dedication in portraying these local celebrities.
“It’s been a good challenge for the actors to think of these people as real people, not broad characters that someone made up. These are people they can research and learn about,” Middleton said. “I hope this gives the community more knowledge and pride in their hometown. There’s a lot of hard work and effort that went into it to make it what it is today.”
Fisher put her 20 years of experience with the Moundridge Historical Association to good use by developing hours of research into a tangible look at Moundridge’s historical figures.
“Through different conversations with family members, I have hours of video tape with Drusilla Cole’s granddaughter, Grace Kutnink, so I had a pretty good idea of what she was like, for example,” Fisher said. “But when you write something, you have it in your mind one way. When, you involve other people, they bring something totally new to what your thoughts were and you can see it come to life. Through Patricia’s direction, there’s movement added and it’s so much fun to see it come together.”
The play begins with the first conversations about starting the community in the 1880s and covers key elements through the 1960s.
While historical in content, “Moundridge Memories” is also making history on its own as a flagship effort of the Moundridge Arts Council.
“People should also take away the fact that they’re seeing live theater in town. This is one of the first productions hosted by the arts council and it’s so neat to see this much talent coming from the Moundridge community,” Middleton said. “The audience will be impressed to see that there’s some very talented people in their town.”
In the future, the council is planning events including an outdoor concert, art programs for children and a writer’s workshop.
For more information on “Moundridge Memories” or the Moundridge Arts Council, visit their page on Facebook.