Application To Become A Chautauquan

Here's your chance to help us tell Kentucky's Story by portraying a person from the Commonwealth's colorful past. Since 1992, our presenters have brought more than 80 Kentuckians to life!

There are many compelling stories out there–let us know which one you want to tell.


Kentucky Chautauqua is seeking presenters to develop dramatic programs portraying the lives of historical Kentuckians. Through the application and audition process described here, we will select new Kentucky Chautauqua characters in June 2022. Dramatic experience is desirable but not required.

This form is used to apply to join the Kentucky Chautauqua roster with a new character. 

Proposed 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. 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.

Subjects that program hosts have expressed interest in include African American history, the bourbon industry, and the equine industry. Also of note, we do not currently have an Abraham Lincoln in our lineup; therefore we will be accepting applications for a new Abraham Lincoln Chautauqua.

A Kentucky Chautauqua portrayal should last about 45 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session of up to 30 minutes. Applicants chosen as 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, 2023 and July 31, 2026. We will pay presenters $350 per performance plus lodging.

If you have a character you want to portray for Kentucky Chautauqua, you have until April 1, 2022 to submit an application.

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 in June 2022 in Lexington. The audition consists of a five-minute in-character presentation followed by a 10-minute Q & A with the reviewers.

Kentucky Chautauqua Characters 1992-2021

Mary ArvinAtta kul kullaLucy Bakewell Audubon
Alben BarkleyMary McLeod BethuneRuth Hanly Booe
Daniel BooneJemima BooneJohn C. Breckinridge
Madeline McDowell BreckinridgeMary Carson BreckinridgeBelle Breezing
Aunt Clara BrownWilliam Wells BrownSimon Bolivar Buckner
A. A. BurleighRev. Newton BushThe Carlisle Brothers
George Rogers ClarkAnna Mac ClarkeCassius M. Clay
Henry ClayLaura ClayRosemary Clooney
Irvin S. CobbCatherine ConnerLilley Cornett
Rev. Elijah CraigEmmit DavenportJefferson Davis
Samuel DrakeCharlotte DupuyJohn G. Fee
Joseph GallowayMargaret GarnerRoscoe Tarlton Goose
Sue GraftonPrivate William GreathouseRev. Elisha Green
Johnny GreenNancy GreenWinifred Green
Justice John Marshall HarlanEmilie Todd HelmBilly Herndon
Price HollowellAunt Molly JacksonGrandpa Jones
Simon KentonMaxine LaceyLily May Ledford
Rose LeighAbraham LincolnMary Todd Lincoln
Alice LloydJohn C. C. MayoDr. Ephraim McDowell
Rose Will MonroeGov. Edwin MorrowMary Owens
Dr. J. J. PolkCaleb PowersPee Wee Reese
Jean RitchieAdolph RuppHarland "Colonel" Sanders
Laura ScottIsaac ShelbyMary Settles
Cora Wilson StewartJesse StuartMiss Dinnie Thompson
Sojourner TruthHarriet TubmanMark Twain
Dr. Thomas WalkerSallie WardHenry Watterson
YorkColonel Charles Young 

Bold = on our current roster

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