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Ride into History

...calls what they do "sneaky history." Others have called their
performances "entertaining and intelligent" and "the most popular part of the event." One woman wrote, "I don't remember when I've had so much fun - and I've learned, too!" Ride has delighted audiences of all ages, in settings as varied as conferences and schools.

"You live up to all of your glowing recommendations."

Ride into History conducts historical performance workshops twice a year at their studio. See Workshops for more info!


Amelia Earhart and Calamity Jane: One Frontier, Differently

...combines the romance of horses, flight, and the West in a two-actpiece for general audiences. What if the young Amelia Earhart had met Calamity Jane?

Amelia and Calamity also travel separately.

They are suitable for conference banquet entertainment (references include the National Space Grant Consortium Directors, Kansas School Nurses, and Mountain Plains Museums Association). But they also play very well in schools, from kindergarten on up.

The real Calamity Jane, posing with her rifleCalamity Jane comes roaring in to tell how she met Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill, became the army's only woman scout, and earned her nickname. But give her time and she'll also talk about having to pack up and leave her home in Missouri, about being an immigrant, about her parents' death, and about giving up her daughter for adoption.

Amelia Earhart runs into the room, apologizes for being late, and explains the latest problem with her attempt to fly around the world at the equator. She also tells dramatic stories about her childhood, including a harrowing sled "flight" between the legs of a horse, and about becoming the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air.

Ann talks to a class after performing as AmeliaAnn has taken Amelia Earhart to elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges; to public schools, Catholic schools, a Jewish school, Episcopal schools, and a school for kids with dyslexia; to schools from New York City to Saipan.

Kansas City fourth graders wrote:

A teacher in a small community was impressed.

Grower, A Woman of the Earth Lodge People

Joyce as Grower, with Girl Scouts"Excellent" has also been repeatedly applied to Joyce's performance as Grower, who speaks from 1804. Grower represents the many peoples who preceded Lewis and Clark in the Louisiana Purchase, including her American father and French grandfather. Teaching stories and hands-on exploration of farming tools, seeds, skins, trade goods, and other material culture make this a favorite for schools and museums. She spoke to hundreds during the July 2004 Lewis and Clark event at Atchison, Kansas.

Joyce as Georgiana JacksonCattle Tales

Texas cattle drover Georgiana Jackson took over the drive when her father became ill and her brother was in the war. But when she returned home her family thought that she should give up her outdoor life and become a lady. Instead she bought pastureland up north. Now the bank is threatening her hold on the land.

Whose Land?/Our Land/My Land

Grower and Georgiana Jackson can be combined with Mary Fix's Joyce as Mary Fixstory of settling in Kansas Territory to make up the three-act Whose Land?/Our Land/My Land, which explores issues of ownership and stewardship. Grower cannot understand how the people's land can be owned, much less sold ("Can you sell the air?"); Mary and her husband celebrate their new farm; and Georgiana finds on her ranch a link back to Grower.

Ann as Julia in her scandalous bloomers!Julia Archibald Holmes

...traveled the Santa Fe Trail in 1858, becoming in the process the first woman to climb to the top of Pike's Peak. She did her hiking in a (scandalous!) bloomer outfit.

When Abraham Lincoln was elected President, Julia and her husband left Santa Fe, dropped their two-year-old off with her parents in Lawrence, and went to DC to offer their services, returning with Henry's appointment as Secretary of the Territory of New Mexico. Julia's letters, and those of men who wrote complaining that Captain Holmes was not controlling his young wife are among Ann's sources for this fascinating woman who knew Susan B. Anthony and John Brown, taught her brother to speak Spanish, was divorced in 1870, had four children, wrote poetry, and worked for the Bureau of Education in Washington, DC at the time the typewriter was coming into being.

Fighting Beside My Brother

Joyce as Civil War soldier JoAt least 600 women fought in the Civil War disguised as men. Fighting Beside My Brother tells their story in a composite character, a veteran looking back on her motives for going to war. Beginning with Bleeding Kansas, Jo describes the dilemmas of a female Civil War soldier disguised as a man. Ideal for fourth gradeJo talks to her horse before a performance through adult; not suitable for very young people.

School Residencies and workshops for adults

Students learn across the curriculum when they become historian/researcher/scriptwriter/actors!  Ride into History performer/scholars work with teacher s in advance to determineGroup

subject curricula to be covered. Ride into History Cultural and Educational Project, Inc. provides all materials (except most research sources), including costumes.

Blazing a Trail through history with Reading Dramatization.


Community Residencies

Osawatomie GroupHistory in the Park! For five days afternoon workshops train people of all ages (or young people only—your choice) to research local history and share their discoveries with first-person narratives.  In the evenings  Ride into History troupe members provide public performances.  On the final evening  the local troupe presents short first person narratives. The result is an on-going troupe that of people who continue to develop their skills and who keep the local stories alive.



Night at your Museum!

Dr. Joyce Thierer

Have you seen Night at the Museum ? The displays come alive at night. The public doesn't actually witness the magic, but there are signs that it's happening. Word gets out, and suddenly a place that was going under is inundated by the public. Movie-goers feel good about a story in which a museum has found new energy, and wish that the story could be true -- that history could come alive -- while knowing, nevertheless, that it cannot: exhibits are static.
But they really don't have
to be! And that's what will make it all the more startlingwhen we bring history alive at your museum or historic site.Community members arrive for tours, having a vague idea that this is something special, butconfident in their knowledge that museum exhibits don't come alive. And then, something shifts. The magic begins!

Afterwards, they tell their friends, neighbors, and the person waiting on them at the coffee shop. And suddenly your tours are over-booked. What a great problem for a museum to have!

Dr. Joyce ThiererThe Experience:
A docent leads a group to a display case. Suddenly, a youngster in period clothing runs up, exclaiming, "That's my top! My grandfather made it for me for Christmas!" The artifact (whatever it is) begins "glowing" as its story is told. And this happens over and over throughout the tour: the manikin that's always stood in the corner comes to life, a child walks through the door of a room display and greets the tour group. And the adult docent "loses control" as the exhibits take over!

All materials are provided ; even costumes can be provided.




Whose Land/Our Land/My Land

Joyce as Grower, with Girl ScoutsRachel Carson is a key figure in the history of the environmental movement because of the wake-up call the marine biologist issued in her 1963 book Silent Spring.  Chemical companies had created pesticides that were not only killing (and building resistance in) insect pests, but were also killing birds and fish that ate those pests—and were otherwise exposed to the chemicals.  True to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s caution to beware of the “military industrial complex,” Carson’s research found that the USDA was purchasing poisons without also funding research to determine their effects.  Just because we can do something, was her message, does not mean we should do it.  It is a message that resonates today, as does the message that one person, working through great adversity, can make a very large difference.

How Do You Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?

It's November 1918 and farmers who had carried the burden of feeding Europeans, American soldiers, and the homefront during the Great War are looking forward to the return of their soldiers. We meet a Flint Hills farm woman who is thinking of her grandson. Will he return? If he does, will he be willing to come back to the farm?

The woman, a composite character created and portrayed by Joyce Thierer, remembers how proud her husbanJanet Hutchingson as Madam Knightd and grandson were when they bought a tractor just before he enlisted. Surely he
will come back, if he can.  Her grandson's letters show than he is no longer a boy.  He will want to make his own choices. Her seventeen year old granddaughter has been carrying an adult's burden the past year, but she will want to get on with her life, too. Stories poignant and humorous take the audience through the war as witnessed from the home front.


Ride is serious history

Dr. Joyce Thierer...have PhD degrees and have been on humanities council rosters in three states, and Joyce is a history professor at Emporia State University...

...but not TOO serious! As entertainment, Ride into History has been on the Kansas Arts Commisions Touring Program and Mid-American Arts Alliance Heartland Arts rosters.

Other information

Funding assistance is generally available from humanities and arts councils.

Most performances are ideal for groups of up to 400 people--larger in a theater or auditorium with in-house lighting and sound.

The troupe provides sound system, publicity copy, and curriculum guides.

Rates (subject to change)

Travel expenses additional, including $25/hour travel time out of state

Amelia Earhart and Calamity Jane: One Frontier, Differently
OR Whose Land/Our Land/My Land
Single character $500
Second performance of same character $200
Second character - different character, same artist $300
School residencies (4-5 days) $2800-$3500
Half day in school $500
Full day in school $750
Add a horse or two $300 (plus additional mileage)

Ride into History
2886 N. Hwy 99
Admire, KS 66830
(620) 528-3580


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This site was created in 2003 by the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historic Performers and Ride into History Cultural and Educational Project, Inc. with an Attraction Development Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing Travel & Tourism Development Division

Original site concept and development by Danny C. Boyce Computer and Network Support and Consulting, Emporia Kansas

Ongoing website maintenance performed by Megan Matile

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