The Athens Chautauqua Society has witnessed phenomenal growth in its short history as a non-profit, community cultural organization in Athens-Clarke County providing humanities-focused, educational programs for the general public. In addition, we develop programs (currently virtual) that encourage and support civic discourse and engagement.

Athens is the only Georgia venue selected to participate in Greenville Chautauqua’s highly successful, History Comes Alive festival and programs that bring history to life through interactive theater and engaging lectures, and where compelling discussion stimulates critical thinking.  Both the Athens and Greenville Chautauquas believe “history comes alive” when historical characters tell their stories in their own words.

The “Chautauqua Movement” started in the late 1870s to bring educational lectures and entertainment throughout small towns across the United States and Canada.

The Athens Chautauqua Society (a 501c3 nonprofit organized in 2019) is a “rebirth” of the first Athens Chautauqua that was held in April 1914 and continued for five more years until 1919. Most likely, the Spanish flu may have helped bring about its demise. Athens Chautauqua Society is now attempting to revitalize this “movement” even during the time of COVID 19 by using virtual learning.

Like the Chautauqua Institution founded in 1874 near Jamestown, New York, the Athens Chautauqua Society is “dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through a program that explores the important religious, social and political issues of our times.”


Upcoming Events

The Athens Chautauqua Society “brings history to life” by presenting Three Palaces at Yalta: Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt, a one-man show at the 440 Foundry Pavilion at The Classic Center on Thursday, October 14 beginning at 6:45 p.m. with a musical performance. Each leader is performed by Bruce Collier, J.D.; the performance explores fear, honor, and hope during post-WWII crucial times and is free to the public. 

Mr. Collier will do a follow up performance at an Athens Chautauqua Society fundraising event (tea and dessert buffet) doing his one-person show: Winston Churchill: Through the Storm. Set at the historic Potsdam Conference, the play shows Churchill reminiscing about his personal and public life, the war, and the possible future. This historical interpretation will be held Friday, October 15, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Trumps Catering on South Milledge Avenue. Tickets are $50/person purchased by check or PayPal.

A theatre professor in Ohio, Jeremy Meier performs virtually via Zoom “Robert F. Kennedy: American Icon” on Tuesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. In this solo performance, Mr. Meier portrays the candidate on the campaign trail in 1968 and features insights on the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights Movement, and the impact the Kennedy name had on Robert’s worldview. It is followed by an interactive question and answer session. Tickets are $15/person purchased on Eventbrite.


The opinions and comments expressed by our presenters are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Athens Chautauqua Society, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering civic engagement through thoughtful discourse, historic reenactments, and community outreach.