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Chautauqua Week

40th Anniversary of the New Old Time Chautauqua

May 20-May 22, 2022

Purchase Tickets Today!


Videography by Tomoki Sage & Allison Barrett

40th Anniversary of the New Old Time Chautauqua

One hundred years ago, the arrival of Chautauqua marked the beginning of a week-long gathering. Communities throughout the Olympic Peninsula traveled to “the City of Dreams” to participate in civic action and enjoy a myriad of artistic performances.

“Our goal is to engender community,” said Paul Magid, member of the NOTC and of the world-renowned The Flying Karamazov Brothers. “We come together to bridge past and present, to connect across generations, and to invite all into the conversation of how we identify as a community now and in the future.”

On Rhododendron Festival weekend, May 20-22, the New Old Time Chautauqua – an anachronistic troupe with a 40-year history in the Northwest – returns to Port Townsend to revive these traditions and renew connections across generational and cultural divides.

The three-day weekend will include artistic performances; gatherings of community, cultural, and civic leaders; a myriad of informative and participatory workshops; and more.

“Chautauqua isn’t simply about entertainment, our purpose runs deeper,” said Chautauquan Kristin Crowley, an expert in clowning and foolery. “It’s about inspiring individuals to show up intentionally and participate meaningfully in conversation and in building relationships.”

Purchase Online Tickets HERE!

OR In-Person at The Food Co-Op or at Littlefield Green, Fort Worden

Stay up to date with Chautauqua Week by subscribing to our eNewsletter and LIKE us on Facebook!


FRIDAY, MAY 20 | Littlefield Green, Fort Worden State Park

  • 5:00PM - Weekend Registration & Community Picnic
  • 7:00PM - Opening Ceremony - Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
  • 7:30PM - Kosmopolis - European Folk, Parisian Swing, Americana, Celtic, and Jazz
  • 8:00PM - Unexpected Brass Band & Dance Party
  • 9:00PM - Outdoor Movie - "PT Shorts"

SATURDAY, May 21 | Multiple Locations

  • 1:00PM - Rhododendron Festival Grand Parade | Uptown Port Townsend
  • 3:00PM - 10th Annual Cake Picnic | Pope Marine Plaza
  • 7:00PM - The Big Show | McCurdy Pavilion, Fort Worden | Doors open @ 6:30PM

SUNDAY, May 22 | Littlefield Green, Fort Worden State Park

  • 2:00PM - Workshops | Littlefield Green & Building 204
  • 4:00PM - PT Lottery "Everyone Wins!"
  • 5:00PM - Chautauqua Community Congress

Food and beverage available throughout the weekend by Fort Worden Hospitality 

Outdoor Movie

Chautauqua Week entertainment begins "PT Shorts".

PT Shorts is a delightful, family-friendly program showcasing work from some of Port Townsend's brightest stars in the local film industry. Dip your toes into the world of experimental animation, comedy sketches, and the Port Townsend in-person premiere of Tulip, an animated adaptation of Thumbelina.

Q&A with filmmakers following the 30-minute screening.

Featured Filmmakers 

Andrea Love

Andrea Love is an animator and director who specializes in stop motion animation with needle felted wool. Her work is—in every sense of the phrase—truly one of a kind. http://www.andreaanimates.com/

Tomoki Sage

Born and raised, Tomoki is a person. He has lived all of his life up until now and is currently looking forward to what is happening. All said and done, he has enjoyed being a part of things and plans to continue. https://www.youtube.com/c/TomokiSage

Thea O’Dell

Thea O’Dell has been living and working in the service industry in Port Townsend since 2009. She loves this town with all her heart and feels incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such a brilliant, creative, diverse, and supportive community. She accidentally fell into animation through a smartphone app and remained captivated and starved for more knowledge ever since. 

Michael McCurdy

Michael McCurdy has been producing videos through his freelance business for more than 5 years and has been filmmaking for more than a decade. His first exposure to the power of filmmaking was through a high school video production program when he created a stop motion short (intended just for practice) that accidentally became a school hit. There was no turning back for him after that. He went on to study at the Seattle Film Institute, interned for a number of film projects, then finally started his own video production business. https://mccurdyfilms.com/

Cake Picnic

Video by Tomoki Sage & Allison Barrett

10th Anniversary of Cake Picnic

3PM | Saturday, May 21 | Pope Marine Park

The Production Alliance and New Old Time Chautauqua will be the final entries in the Rhody Festival Grand Parade, which begins at 1PM on Saturday, May 21, in Uptown Port Townsend.

Community members are encouraged to jump in and march behind our iconic ‘78 Cadillac flatbed to the 10th Anniversary of Cake Picnic, which begins at 3PM in Pope Marine Park.

The Production Alliance will be serving up thousands of slices of locally made, delicious artisan cake for FREE, plus enjoy live music, dancing, and performances by the New Old Time Chautauqua.

The Big Show - Line Up

PT Lottery

Everyone Wins Lottery

PT Lottery tickets sold for $10 each at Littlefield Green and Cake Picnic during Chautauqua Week. Ticket sales end Saturday, May 21, at 7:00PM.

The First Annual Port Townsend Lottery will take place as part of The New Old Time Chautauqua 40th Year Anniversary on Rhododendron Festival Weekend. 

Loosely based on a short story by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges “The Babylon Lottery”

Our intention with the PT Lottery is to provide new and unique experiences and to foster new relationships among community members.

Sunday, May 22 | 4PM - 5PM
  • Collect your prize at Littlefield Green, Fort Worden State Park.
  • Winners will have the opportunity to "swap" their prize with other winners.
  • Must be present to win and to swap.

Potential Prizes:
  • Day Passes to the Oregon Country Fair
  • T-Shirts & Passes to StrangeBrew Fest
  • T-Shirts & Passes to GPTB Kinetic Sculpture Rosehips Ball
  • Private Film Screenings with PTFF
  • Coaching & Healing sessions with talented professionals
  • Essential Italian - Sayings, Gestures, Curses, and Epithets of Love"
  • 2 Hours volunteering at Salish Elementary School Garden
  • 2 Hours volunteering with the New Old Time Chautauqua
  • Admission to a special performance by the Unexpected Brass Band

Interested in donating? We are collecting:
  • Physical items
  • Requests for help
  • Educational experiences
  • Skill or services you can offer
  • A civic duty
  • Something funny/unexpected
Donate Items/Experiences by filling out THIS FORM


Sunday, May 22 | 2PM - 4PM | Littlefield Green & Building 204

New Old Time Chautauqua hosts a scintillating array of workshops for the whole family - to inform, delight, illuminate and inspire. Come to play, have fun, learn a new skill from masters of their art, educators, historians, Chautauquans, and other masters; listen to words from our local Indigenous community, and share your own creativity, history, and experience.

Each workshop will be about 45 minutes long and
participants can choose from a wide variety of offerings. 

Workshops include: Juggling; Hula Hoop; A Pop-Up Movement Circus Taster including Balance, Acrobatics, Partnering work, Object manipulation and Games; Ukulele; Puzzle Making; Magic; Quilting: Playing Spoons; Song Swap; Kumihimo; Spontaneous Storytelling; Picking and Planting Fruit Trees; Word Portraits; Found Collage Art, Playing with Planet Earth; Fundamentals of Storytelling; “Still Here” - An Indigenous Perspective; The Doctrine of Discovery: the Christian Legal Justification for Native American Land Seizure and Genocide: “Why I’m Here” - personal origin stories of how you and your ancestors came to be in the United States - by force, necessity, choice, birth?... and there are even more workshops too!!!

Workshops are intended to deepen the sense of understanding, engagement, community building, creativity and joy inspiring all the Chautauqua Week events. 

*Please note that masks will be required for all indoor workshops.

Community Congress

Sunday, May 22 | 5PM | Littlefield Green

The Chautauqua Community Congress is an experiment in community engagement.

Tribal Nations from around the Olympic Peninsula have been invited by our local government (City of Port Townsend & Jefferson County Board of Commissioners) to participate in Chautauqua Week, culminating in a meaningful dialogue between representatives of local sovereign Tribal Nations, residents of Port Townsend, Jefferson County, and their elected officials.

We hope that through this direct and honest communication we may move closer to being in right relations with our tribal brothers and sisters as we work together to bring about tangible and systematic change. 

New Old Time Chautauqua

Our Chautauqua

The New Old Time Chautauqua (NOTC) was founded in 1981 by a group of adventurous performers, health care practitioners, and educators including the Flying Karamazov Brothers and Dr. Patch Adams. The idea was to revive the inspiring Chautauqua spirit and bring live entertainment and educational workshops to diverse rural communities. With the intention of inspiring creativity and supporting community, our traveling troupe partners with local organizations and service groups to present Chautauqua events.

We aim to delight, educate, amaze, and provoke the imagination of adults and children alike. The all-volunteer 50+ person troupe has staged 2-6 week summer tours throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and British Columbia. In Spring 2006, NOTC traveled to New Orleans and the coast of Mississippi bringing free entertainment and friendship to Hurricane Katrina survivors and volunteer relief workers.

In recent years we have toured Southeast Alaska, Washington State, Montana, Idaho, and Eastern Oregon. 

What is a Chautauqua?

What is a Chautauqua?

“Chautauqua” was a cultural and social movement that started in upstate New York in the 1870s and flourished until the mid 1920s. During this time, hundreds of touring chautauquas presented lectures, dance, music, drama, and other forms of “cultural enrichment”. In rural America, big tents served as temporary theaters for these productions. Lectures by author Mark Twain, suffragette Susan B. Anthony, or a production of “The Tale of Two Cities” are the kinds of entertainment one could expect at a chautauqua show. The Chautauqua Institution still thrives in Chautauqua, New York.

Teddy Roosevelt once called the traveling Chautauquas “the most American thing in America”. This form of live entertainment faded with the growing popularity of radio and motion pictures.

The Chautauqua Movement was the largest event that has ever existed in the US or Canada. Taking its cue from the proceeding Lyceum movement the first Chautauqua was held on idyllic Lake Chautauqua (hence the name) in 1874. Its mix of arts and entertainment became an instant hit. By the turn of the 20th century there were Chautauquas held one coast to the other. In 1904 the Chautauqua idea got on the rails and went mobile. Held in large brown tents Chautauquas were found in nearly every town in the country. Powered by its superstar speakers, international music stars, theatre, vaudeville, scientists, and politicians it had become a sensation. By 1924 a 1,000 Circuit or Traveling Chautauquas were playing in over 10,000 towns with an attendance of over 40,000,000 Americans. Teddy Roosevelt called Chautauqua, "The most American thing about America". Chautauquas were based on the idea that learning continued throughout life. The Chautauqua Movement's mix of education and entertainment was the predecessor of today's NPR, TED talks, and influenced modern journalism, television, and politics. Chautauquas were always set in an idyllic setting, among the trees, by a shore, or in a park (which is why this 2016 WSP summer is such a natural fit). When Chautauqua came to a town all normal activity stopped as each town's citizen's dedicated a week of their lives to learn, to be entertained, and to join in community.

The traveling Chautauquas disappeared during the Great Depression but the original Chautauqua continues to flourish on the shores of Lake Chautauqua.

"Chautauqua: An American Institution Reimagined for the 21st Century," by Marshall Gause on the website progrss, lays out both the history of Chautauquas and which ones are currently active around the U.S., including New Old Time Chautauqua. 


For a week every summer, from 1914 until 1930, Port Townsend, WA was invaded. All activities in Port Townsend and the countryside around were curtailed or reduced. The hotels began to fill up with strange people who had arrived by rail the night before.

Some of these strangers were people of note: politicians, lecturers, inventors, and educators. To this heady cast was added vaudevillians, divas, dancers, Native American Speakers, and actors. The local newspapers headlined the week-long program by printing the schedule on the front page with descriptions of each of the acts. It was the area’s biggest week of the year. What was it?

It was the Ellison-White Traveling Circuit Chautauqua and it was part of the national Chautauqua movement which had become the largest attended event in Washington State. In its heyday, the importance of Chautauqua Week in Port Townsend’s yearly cycle was right up there with Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July.

This year's May 20-22, 2022's "Chautauqua Week" is historic because, although Port Townsend has been the home and springboard for the New Old Time Chautauqua for 40(+1) years, this will be the first "Chautauqua Week" in the Key City (Port Townsend) in more than a century.

"What do you think when you hear the word Chautauqua? Do you know that the Chautauqua movement is directly fostered and supported by more personally interested business and professional men than any one world movement, either educational, social or political? Do you know that the Chautauqua movement has grown in thirty years from one assembly to over 5,000 assemblies? Do you know that Chautauquas are brought to over 700 communities in the United States and Western Canada through Ellison-White Service? Do you know that Chautauqua is annually attended by more people than baseball?"

- Alaska Daily Dispatch, August 29, 1918