29 Mar

Become a Kentucky Chautauquan

Now is your chance to help Kentucky Humanities tell Kentucky’s story by portraying a person from the Commonwealth’s colorful past. Since 1992, our presenters have brought 80 Kentuckians to life as Kentucky Chautauqua characters. There are many more compelling stories out there—let us know which one you want to tell.


Proposed Kentucky Chautauqua characters do not have to be famous, but their lives should illuminate some part of Kentucky’s history, and their stories should be compelling enough to appeal to audiences in every part of the state. Kentucky Chautauqua characters, who must be deceased, have ranged from the unknown, such as Kentucky politician Caleb Powers, to household names like Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. The common thread is that they all have great stories to tell.


A Kentucky Chautauqua portrayal should last about 35-45 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session of up to 30 minutes. Applicants chosen as Kentucky Chautauqua characters will receive an honorarium of $1,000 for script development, and Kentucky Humanities will pay for drama, costume, and scholarly consultants to ensure the historical accuracy of the characterization. Presenters agree to provide their own costumes, props, and transportation, and must be available to travel statewide for at least 45 performances between August 1, 2025 and July 31, 2028. We will pay presenters $350 per performance plus lodging.


We will invite selected applicants to audition for a panel of reviewers chosen by Kentucky Humanities. Auditions and final selection of characters will take place on Monday, June 3, 2024, in Lexington. The audition consists of a five-minute in-character presentation followed by a 10-minute Q & A with the reviewers. Dramatic experience is desirable but not required.


Visit for more information and to submit your application.


If you have a character you want to portray for Kentucky Chautauqua, you have until April 15, 2024, to submit an application.