Figures from the Past Share Their Memories of a Life-changing Civil War

(COLUMBIA, TN) March 4, 2021 – Later this month Watershed Public Theatre will present an online production of Maury Voices: Stories from Our Community’s Past with the support of the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Maury County Historical Society. Recorded performances will be available for public viewing at any time between March 19-21. Ticket holders will be able to determine the time of viewing and may watch the performance as many times as they wish.

Maury Voices introduces five individuals whose lives represent this county in the 1800’s with a strong focus on the era of the Civil War. A First Lady, two former slaves, a daughter of Rippavilla, and an Athenaeum schoolgirl speak to viewers of the upheaval brought by war and the unexpected lives they led following the conflict.

Local playwright and director, Beverly Mitchell wrote the script based on several years of research, creating speakers that are true to the period and its events. Mitchell is enthusiastic about the balance of voices included, allowing her to create an authentic retelling of all of the people of Maury county. With Watershed Executive Director, Kate Foreman, Mitchell directed the actors in a streaming performance that works especially well for this production. Columbia’s Visual Media Company filmed the performances on site at the Polk Home, Rippavilla, and the Athenaeum.

Contemporary Maury Countians give life to these figures from the past. Sherry Johnson, the director of Columbia’s Building Block School of the Arts, is the charismatic first lady, Sarah Polk. Quantagus McFall, a member of the Columbia Arts Council, plays Henry, a young black man who shares his journey from slavery to freedom. The role has been a powerful experience for McFall, who stated, “We’ve come so far in being able to be ourselves and make our own decisions. It’s important to know when we couldn’t.” Jenny Cheairs Hickey is performed by Columbia State Entertainment Program alum and veteran Watershed actor, Megan Roberts. She is accompanied in her story by Detra Walker, who plays another Jennie Cheairs, a Rippavilla slave from the same period. Walker previously appeared in the Watershed presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A ninth grader who already has an impressive performance resume, Cameron Schulz, plays Mary Stuart, a teenager who loves being a student at the Athenaeum, where she is an eye witness to Columbia during the  Civil War.
Tickets for the streaming production are $5 and may be purchased at

About Watershed Public Theatre

Watershed Public Theatre inspires and engages our community by offering a broad spectrum of artistic experiences. We believe that theatre is the ultimate collaborative art and invite the whole community to be part of that collaboration, bringing together arts professionals, volunteers, students and patrons to share in the enrichment that only performance can provide. While striving for the highest quality of artistic and educational experiences, we maintain our focus on nurturing community and practicing social and environmental responsibility.

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