SPIRITS OF ROKEBY program looking for actors!

Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh is planning an exciting new program, Spirits of Rokeby,
and is looking for actors!

The Event: The Spirits of Rokeby

will happen on two consecutive days:
Friday, Oct 29 5-8pm and Saturday, Oct 30 2:00-8:45pm
at Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, VT.

 Spirits of Rokeby is a short-form experience – part history, part live theater. Guests will arrive in the barn where they will receive a short history talk from our Director, about the Spiritualist movement and of the family members’ relations to it and each other. Guests will then be escorted into the parlor where actors, lights and sound will bring the historic séances to life. Following the performance staff will lead guests out a separate door for reflections and questions.

 The séance will be reenacted by costumed actors with guests as active observers. The performance itself is short, 15-20 minutes, with 30-minute breaks between performances. Small visitor groups with timed tickets, 4 performances Friday and 8 performances Saturday (dinner break provided Saturday).

 The historic papers have been adapted into a script, most everything will be direct quotes. The Robinsons spoke in Quaker “plain speech.” The content involves the living communicating with a dead soldier to predict the ending of the Civil War and speaking with relatives who have passed to the other side. With the latter, they used spirit contact as a sort of family therapy, reflecting tensions that existed in their lives and trying to hash out unresolved family issues. Many of the transcriptions are between Rowland and his dead son. 

 The History: The Robinsons were radical Quaker abolitionists. They believed emancipation needed to happen immediately. Most Quakers felt a controlled, gradual emancipation was the safer choice. So In the 1850s, Rachel and Rowland Robinson became fed up with their Quaker brethren and left Quakerism. It was a shock to the community as they were outspoken, famous abolitionists. At this point the Robinsons switched gears to become followers of Spiritualism, influenced by their close friend Ann King who at times lived with them. The Spiritualist movement was becoming popular and they weren’t the only Quakers that made the switch. Subsequently, we have transcripts in our collection of the séances that occurred in the home! 

The performance will be a staged reading (no need to memorize lines), 4-5 rehearsals with a potential dress rehearsal for board members as audience. Rehearsals will be low key and experimental. As a tiny non-profit museum, unfortunately there is no funding so time would have to be volunteer; “community theater” style. We can provide dinner on Saturday and a laid back, fun experience!

Covid: Visitors will be required to wear masks indoors (actors excluded), group size between 8-10 people and 6-feet between actors and visitors. We’ll remain flexible and if numbers suddenly rise, may have to shift to digital. 

Actors are needed for the following roles:

  • Rowland Robinson (male, 50-80 y/o) 
  • Spirit of fallen soldier/Spirit of Thomas Robinson (two roles:one actor. Male, 20-40 y/o, intense energy)

If you’re interested, please contact Education Programs Manager, Tucker Foltz at tfoltz@rokeby.org with a bit about yourself and any background experience.