PORTSMOUTH — Following a disappointing year of no show due to the Coronavirus last year, the Story of Us is back on this year at Greenlawn Cemetery.
Forty acres of incredible horticulture and amazing sculpture will be the setting October 10, 2021, for the fourth installment of The Story of Us historical reenactment.
The Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation (FOGCF) is proud to present the Story of Us, IV “The Sexton’s Diaries” as the next installment of the much-anticipated fall tradition.
The theme for this year’s event comes from a mid1800’s PortsmouthDailyTimes newspaper article. In the article, the long-serving Sexton, John McNeal, gives insight into the day-to-day operation (and drama) of a large rural cemetery during the post-Civil War period.
Under the direction of FOGCF Board Member Linda Tieman, the individual venues will feature the story of the original five-acre land purchase that would ultimately morph into 40 acres with more than 85,000 graves. One of the oldest working public cemeteries in the country, Greenlawn Cemetery has been part of the city’s history since 1829.
Debbie Gambill, FOGCF Board Member, is excited about the upcoming production.
“As with most events, the 2020 production was canceled due to the COVID restrictions. This year’s production is all new,” Gambill said. “We decided to start from scratch and go back to the beginning. Tell the stories of the individual cemeteries that ultimately became known as Greenlawn.”
Gambill shared the organization has decided to do only one production this year instead of the two shows they have performed in previous years.
“We have 40 acres of outdoor space for the production, and we are taking precautions to make the event as safe as possible. Immediately following the opening, you will be assigned to a walking group with your individual guide,” Melissa Appleton FOGCF Board Member added. “We have decreased the size of these groups and added an additional tour group to make it even safer.”
One hundred percent of the proceeds from this year’s Story of Us IV, “The Sexton’s Diaries” will be utilized in the restoration of Soldier’s Circle and the iconic center monument of an American Union Soldier.
“This is our only fundraiser and these annual productions have served as the financial catalyst for the restoration of the Chapel, the installation of the Serenity Garden, a new archway over the entrance of the Cemetery, a covered information area, fence painting and nearly $334,000 in improvements over a four-year period,” Gambill continued. “We have forged partnerships with several local businesses and individuals to really make significant improvements in Greenlawn.”
“The Story of Us” is always a magical night as the Portsmouth High School Choir closes the show with the entire cast,” she continued. “We will have only 350 patrons spread over 11 individual walking tour groups.”
“Portsmouth is a community rich in history and so much is readily on display in Greenlawn. Grand Champion trees, 150-year-old brick walkways, historical fencing and countless incredible monuments to name just a few.”
“This is an opportunity to learn about your community while watching some amazing local talent.”
Board Members Gary Tieman and Steve Appleton have spent several weeks crafting the original sets to ensure period accuracy.
Mary Arnzen, FOGCF Board Member, said “Tickets for the event are $30 and are available for purchase at Neal Hatcher Real Estate, Sherman Kricker Insurance or Portsmouth West High School (Linda Tieman). You can also message us on Facebook, and we will make arrangements to get you a ticket.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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