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January 8, 2008

CW's winter 2008 season features mix of new and returning programs

The holidays may be over, but Colonial Williamsburg offers engaging programs to entertain guests during the Winter 2008 season. January through mid-March, visitors can experience several interactive events in the Historic Area and beyond. The Raleigh Tavern and the Mary Stith House play host to a mix of new programs and returning favorites that explore the role of the performing arts in 18th-century colonial life, as well as more politically charged offerings befitting Williamsburg’s role in the American Revolution. Open-court sessions at the colonial Courthouse and behind-the-scenes glimpses at the Foundation’s ongoing archaeological research and preservation efforts round out the season.

Programs running from January to mid-March 2008 include:

  • A Dancer of Ease, 1-1:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Raleigh Tavern. In 1772 this description was applied to Robert Aldridge, a well-known dancer of fashionable solo stage hornpipes in London and Dublin. Join one of our dancers for a program of solo theatrical dance of the 18th century, and allow yourself to be transported by our elegant “dancer of ease.”
  • Music for a Revolutionary Generation, 2:30-3 and 3-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Mary Stith House. Come and experience musical diversions in a time of change. Members of the Governor’s Musick, Colonial Williamsburg’s resident performance ensemble, perform selections popular in both England and Revolutionary America during the 18th century.
  • Meet the Musician, 10:30-11:45 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Mary Stith House. Visit with one of the members of Governor’s Musick, enjoy samplings of a wide variety of musical morsels and learn of the importance of music in a time when people made their own entertainment.
  • The Actor’s Trunk, 2-3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays at the Mary Stith House. How does the 18th-century performer develop his art? How are the costumes, sets, playscripts and music brought to life for a colonial audience? Drop in on our performing arts staff for an informal discussion of the craft of theater and performance in colonial America.
  • Encore!, 11:30 a.m. to noon Wednesdays at the Raleigh Tavern. Enjoy an eclectic program of music, dance and theater of the kind that delighted our forefathers and mothers. Williamsburg was the site of the first theater in British North America, and the stage remained a popular diversion throughout the 18th century. The theater wasn’t open year round, or even every year, but music and dance enlivened gatherings as public as an assembly at the Raleigh Tavern or as intimate as a family parlor.
  • Pleasures of the Playhouse, 11:30 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the Raleigh Tavern. Enjoy the variety of entertainments found in an evening at the playhouse. Everything from comedy to tragedy, music and dance ensures a grand time for all.
  • Pleasures of the Dance, 1:30-1:50 and 2-2:20 p.m. Mondays; 1-1:20 and 1:30-1:50 p.m. Thursdays at the Raleigh Tavern. Spend some time with one of our dancing instructors and musicians who will teach you about one of 18th-century Virginia’s favorite leisure pastimes: ballroom dancing.
  • Women on the English Stage, 12:30-1 p.m. March 4 and 11 at the Raleigh Tavern. Celebrate Women’s History Month in March with this special program. Women have been acting in English theater since 1660, when Charles II issued a law allowing female performers onstage for the first time. Come explore the rich traditions of the English women of the theater and their colonial counterparts.
  • Daughters of Liberty, 2:30-3 p.m. Fridays at the Mary Stith House. Just because women couldn’t vote or enlist, they were far from silent when it came to the Revolution. Propaganda, then as now, could be an effective tool in swaying opinions and mustering support. Come out of the cold and get fired up with a variety of women’s contributions to the fight for independence using those sharpest of weapons: words and wit.
  • Order in the Court, 11-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at the Courthouse. Come participate in a local court session where lives, liberty, and property come into contest. Our guests may take on a variety of legal roles including justices, attorneys, litigants, petitioners and defendants. See how the rights of Virginians were maintained in open court.
  • Rubbish, Treasures, and Colonial Life: the Archeology Labs, 9:15, 10:15 a.m.; 1:45, 2:45 p.m. Tuesdays. Discover how artifacts are processed and interpreted on this special focus tour. Limited to 15 persons per tour.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tour at Bruton Heights, 2:30-4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Bruton Heights Lobby. Under the guidance of an experienced volunteer interpreter, guests explore the campus of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s research and preservation facilities. This tour provides the opportunity to speak with the experts about the work that is involved in accurately recreating a colonial city.

    A valid Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket is required for all programs.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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