Local News

Lost Colony: Longest-Running Outdoor Drama Anything But Same Old Show

Posted May 26, 2003

— In the 1500s, Sir Walter Raleigh loaded up boats and headed west, hoping to form the first settlement on North Carolina's Outer Banks. He failed, and the story of the Lost Colony became famous.

The story is more than 400 years old. Every summer, for 66 years, it has been brought to life onstage in Manteo where thousands gather to watch.

Meghann Owen, 21, is awaiting her first time on stage.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know the company better, getting to work with them longer. We have three months together, so we'll get to be a tight-knit family by the end of the summer," Owen said.

"The Lost Colony is the nation's longest-running outdoor drama. But that does not make it the same old show year after year.

Terrence Mann is starting his third year as director. To keep the production fresh, he tweaks the story each year with new lines, props or musical numbers.

This year he added new costumes for Queen Elizabeth. The dresses, handmade in New York and modeled after actual portraits, are spectacular right down to the jeweled belt with a portrait of Henry the VIII.

Each new dress costs about $25,000. The money came from a charitable grant. The dresses should last 10 years.

In her role, Owen will not get to wear one of the dresses. She said she is just glad to be a part of the performance.

"I'm dancing my butt off in the sand and the sun all day long, and it's fun," Owen said.

The performances start June 2 in Manteo. This season is dedicated to Andy Griffith who played the part of Sir Walter Raleigh in the 1940s.

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