History of Events
Arts and Education

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The Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky is rich in the traditions of the arts. The hills and hollers have long resounded with homemade music. Hand-crafted treasures filled the homes. Appalachian authors found a world-wide audience. "Our Story" is worth telling.

Our area is also one of the most economically distressed regions in the nation. Generally speaking, our students receive inadequate training in the Arts and Humanities. Our communities have fewer opportunities to appreciate arts performances, especially performances by artists from outside the area.

Our mission is to present both Appalachian and culturally diverse programming to our students and community. It is important, especially for the students, to see that performers representing our Appalachian heritage are as talented as those from anywhere in the world and that our unique Story is worthy of celebration and perpetuation.

Educational and Community events often overlapped. Performances in the schools often had an evening performance for the community. These events will be listed on this page or on the History of Events Community page.

professional children's theater professional theater


The AHA has coordinated over one hundred performances by professional theater groups. The performances were in the schools, at various venues in the community, and at Hazel Green Academy. Thank you, Sponsors. Events marked with * indicate both school and community performances.

Lexington Children's Theater

Each title was performed two to four times.

Katerina the Clever Pecos Bill and Sluefoot Sue*
The Nightingale* MacBeth
Fisherman and the Flounder* Town Mouse Country Mouse*
Tales from Edgar Allen Poe* Uncle Wiggly*
Jack and the Wonderbeans* Romeo and Juliet
Twain by the Tail Most Valuable Player - Jackie Robinson
Jungle Book* Huckleberry Finn*
The Rutabaga Stories Tales from Beatrix Potter*
The Red Badge of Courage The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe*
Aesop's Fables* Legend of John Henry*
The Tomato Plant Girl* A Christmas Carol *
Peter and the Wolf / Tales from Eastern Europe* The Fisherman and his Wife*

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival

"Boy Meets Girl Meets Shakespeare"
Annual event for seventeen years. Two performances per year. Workshop for Elementary and High School students based on selected scenes.
 "Shakespeare's Clowns - A Fool's Guide" * Two performances. Performed by Curt L. Tofteland, Director of KY Shakespeare Festival.

 Madcap Puppet Productions*

Part of the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Hat's Off" Series. Four performances.

Illustrated Theater Company*

From Chicago. Annually for three years. Three shows per year.

Appalshop Roadside Theater *

Jenny Wiley Theater *

Blue Apple Players

Elder Sprites

Senior Citizens Theater Company, Louisville, KY

Lynn Hungerford*

Masque Theater*

Belle and Buster Show

Richard T. Jennings


Writing Programs include weekend retreats and workshops. Additional school programs are indicated by  * .

Gurney Norman: ten years of Writer's Retreats* James Still
Richard Taylor: KY Poet Laureate George Ella Lyon*
Bob Sloan Crystal Wilkinson
Anne Shelby M.Kay Miller
Ernie Tucker David Dick
Sidney Farr Virginia Carney
Rebecca Bailey* Ed McClanahan
Farrell Foreman* Frank X Walker*
Carolyn Lacy Mary Stewart
John Engle Leatha Kendrick
Artie Anne Bates* Kelly Ellis*


Dance activities included performances, workshops, classes, and community dances. An (s) indicates a school performance or workshop. A (c) indicates a community performance or workshop.

 Ballet Espanol

Ballet Espanol (c,s) 21 Russian Singers and Dancers (c,s)
Louisville Ballet (s) Lexington Ballet (s)
Kentucky Ballet Theater (c) Swing Dance (c)
Irish Step Dance (s) Mt. Square Dances w/Richard Jett (c)
Ball Room Dance w/ Ivan Ball (c) Contra Dance (c)
Line Dancing (c) Syncopated Inc, Tap Dance (s)
African Dance (s,c) Appalachian Dance with Al White (s)

Where Art Meets Ed

Where ART Meets ED

"Where ART Meets Ed" was a week-long Teacher In-Service Arts and Humanities program held at Hazel Green Academy for five years. Teachers, artists, and students joined in an all consuming art experience in a wide variety of arts disciplines. The performances listed below were open to the public. The concept was the brainchild of Robert Gipe. Appalshop, Afumba, Foothills Artists and the Wolfe County Arts Association were partners in the effort.

River City Drum Corps Angie DeBord Mitch Barrett
Zambia Nakumba Jamie and Jesse Wells Kiya Heartwood
Miriam Davidson Samyira Shabaz David Musser
Adella, Adella the Story Tella Randy Wilson Ethel Caffie-Austin
Belle and Buster Show Artie Anne Bates Omope Daboiku
Carla Gover Ed White Janine Musser
Aziz Diack Pame Kingfisher Debbie Horton
Pamela Oldfield Meade Gurney Norman Jeff Chapman-Crane
Paranoix Poor Puppet Theater Tom Dant Steve Tyrone
Sam McKinney    


small puppets
Small puppets
Greek Shadow Puppets
Bigger (Greek Shadow) Puppets
Madcap Shadow Puppets
Really Big Madcap Puppets
Giant Float Puppets
Russ Miller's Giant Float Puppets
Giant Homecoming Puppets Greek Shadow Puppets Berea Summer Puppet Caravan
Madcap Puppets Masque The Trashman Cometh: Illusions of Grandeur
  Kaye Birchfield and Theresa Hollon

Educational Field Trips

The goal of our Educational Field Trips was to present high quality learning experiences for the students of the region provided by professional, experienced individuals and organizations from throughout the state. Our Educational Field Trips supplemented and enhanced the educational priorities of the schools as mandated by the Kentucky Education Reform Act.

We served approximately 8,000 students from thirty-four schools in seven counties. There were forty-four Field Trip events. Our presenters included professional artists, scientists, university professors, college students, and experienced facilitators. There were 42 performances and 271 student workshops.

The Field Trips occurred at Hazel Green Academy, Hazel Green, KY, when we operated the Life Long Learning Center. More information on the Field Trips is available on the Learning Center page of this web site.

Some of the following events were also brought to the schools and are listed in other categories.

Russian Folk Singers and Dancers: “The Veronish, The Old Believers, The Babushkas” (six workshops and a community performance) Three groups and thirty-one artists performing folk song and dance from their native Russia. This was a marvelous event.

The Veronish: singers and dancers from Russia             The Babushkas, from Russia

Ballet Espanol: Professional dance company (eight performers, two workshops and one community performance on two occasions) Spanish dance and the contribution of Spanish culture to dance and music. These field trips were a big deal.

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival: “Boy Meets Girl Meets Shakespeare” (annual event, eight performances.) Workshop for high school students based on four selected scenes.

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival: “Shakespeare’s Clowns- A Fools Guide” Performed by Curt Tofteland, Producing Director of KSF. (two performances)

Mary Hamilton- Storyteller: “Tales of Kentucky and other Stories” (two performances)

Randy Wilson: “Stories and Songs of Appalachia” (two performances) Kentucky Arts Council Artist in Residence. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, storyteller.

Don and Michelle Jessup: “Chemistry is Everywhere” (two days, eight workshops  Professional chemists bring a science show to demonstrate the importance of science in the everyday world.

Lexington Children's Theater: Professional Children's Theater: “Pecos Bill and Sluefoot Sue” (two performances)  “Legend of John Henry” (two performances)“The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe” (two performances)  “Katerina the Clever” (two performances)  “Aesop’s Fables” (two performances)  “Jack and the Wonderbeans” (four performances) 

Professor Joe Straley               Hands-On Science

"Hands-On Science Day" for fourth grade students (three annual two-day event, twenty-four workshops per day) with University of Kentucky Professor Joe Straley and his “Physics Petting Zoo,” Mike Lewis, from the National Weather Station, Geology with the Prestonsburg Science Center, Chemistry with Don and Michelle Jessup.

Louisville Ballet: “The Artist and the Athlete” (two performances)

Math Day I and Math Day II with the Wolfe County Gifted and Talented Students. (two days, twelve workshops) All day practical math workshops for fifth grade students lead by G&T students.

Mountain Heritage Arts with Mitch Barrett and Carla Gover: "Dispelling Negative Stereotypes" (two performances) "It's Cool to be Appalachian" (two performances)

Astronomy Days I, II, and III with the Prestonsburg Science Center, Tom Dant, David Musser, giant inflatable Planetarium, and more. (six workshops)

Music from the Mideast

“Salaam- Music from the Middle East” (two performances)  Five musicians present a slide show history tour of the Middle East with demonstration of musical styles from each country.

“Powwow Dancer: Native American Stories and Dance” with Mr. Jeff Hatmaker (two performances) Discussion of Native Americans with dance and music demonstration.

“Drama Day I” (two performances, ten workshops) with Curt Tofteland, Producing Director of The Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and the Drama Department from Wolfe and Morgan County High Schools. Hands-on, interactive workshops for fourth grade students.

“Drama Day II” and “Drama Day III” (two days, twice, forty workshops) Berea College Professors Brenda Richardson and Deborah Martin and their college students majoring in Education and Drama taught hands-on theater workshops to fourth grade students.

“Day of the Arts I and II” with Powell County TAG fifth grade students (two days, ten workshops)

“Hands-On Art” with Morgan County Gifted and Talented students. (five workshops)

Madcap Puppet Productions: “When You Wish Upon a Fish” (two performances) Part of the Cincinnati Art Museum “Hats Off Series.” Noted for the very large puppets.

Kosmic Kite Factory: “Don’t Drag Your Tail” (four workshops) Aerodynamic principals, kite history, demonstrations and kite building.

Creativity through Hands-On Art: Two day program for Powell County Gifted and Talented program.

Creative Thinking in Arts and Science: Two day program for Morgan County Gifted and Talented program.

Artists in the Schools

We brought many artists and art events to the schools. Unless indicated, artists listed below are for events in addition to their activities found in other categories on this website.

Mick Sgroi- "In the Mime Light" - Pantomime artist. Two years. (twelve performances)

Jeff Hawkins and Debbie Bays: Appalachian Storytelling. (eight performances)

Angie Debord: Appalachian Stories. (eight performances)

Aziz Diack: Sculptor from Senegal. (two day-long workshops)

Artie Anne Bates and Jeff Chapman-Crane: Told how their book "Ragsale" was written and illustrated.

Sue Massek: Traditional Music, Play Party Games. Three occasions. (twenty-four workshops)

Joy Delia and Tommy Bledsoe- Appalachian music and Storytelling. (eight Performances)

For Lexington Children's Theater,  Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Illustrated Theater, Belle and Buster Show, Masque Theater, and Blue Apple Players please see Theater category above.

George Ella Lyon-Appalachian author (eight performances)

Reel World String Band with George Ella Lyon. (two performances)

Gurney Norman; On Writing. (four workshops)

For Syncopated Inc Tap Dance, Ballet Espanol, Louisville Ballet, Lexington Ballet, Irish Step Dance, African Dance, and Appalachian Dance please see Dance category above.

Mitch Barrett: Traditional and Original Music. (eight performances)

African Drumming and Storytelling. Ajamu Mutima. (eight performances)

 Fred Ostrem                          Frank X Walker

Afrilachian Poets: Frank X Walker, Kelly Ellis, Gurney Norman (four workshops)

River City Drum Corps: African Drumming (five performances)

Randy Wilson: Appalachian Stories and Song (twelve performances)

Jim Webb: Appalachian Music and Storytelling (twelve performances)

Mary Hamilton: Kentucky Stories (eight performances)

Mike Steele: Film Making: The Storyboard (four workshops)

Jim Cable: Singer/songwriter (four performances)

Rich Kirby: Appalachian Music and Storytelling (four performances)

Dr. Science (four performances)

David Musser: Appalachian Dulcimer (twelve workshops)

Songwriting with Kiya Heartwood (eight workshops)

Kiya Heartwood and James Bush: Rock music (two performances)

Kopana Terry: Drumming (four workshops)

Farrell Foreman: Philadelphia Poet (four performances)

Chemistry Around You: Don and Michelle Jessup (two performances)

Polar Express. Students read book and then ride the Train (With Wolfe County Family Literacy)

children's music