WELLS RECORD 16 PMSS Dramatics 1913-1928

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 01: HISTORIES
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Series 33: DRAMA
Wells Record 16
PMSS Dramatics

WELLS RECORD PMSS 16 Dramatics 1913-1928

“Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” play. [kingman_026a.jpg]

TAGS: Evelyn K. Wells, dramatics, Pine Mountain Settlement School, plays, theater, Shakespeare, Robin Hood, Aunt Sis, Uncle John, Pageant of Pine Mountain, Peter Pan, The Piper, Twelfth Night, Merchant of Venice, The Rose and the Ring, Queen of Hearts, Sun-Up, Brit Wilder, A Welch Honeymoon, Christmas Play, House in the Woods

WELLS RECORD PMSS 16 Dramatics 1913-1928

The following is a transcription of Evelyn K. Wells’ record of activities related to dramatics at Pine Mountain Settlement School during the years from 1913 until 1928.


We remember an interesting  succession of plays: Robin Hood in a real Sherwood Forest, Peter Pan, and The Piper with beautiful outdoor setting, Shakespeare done by children whose own speech was so often Shakespearean, The Pageant of Pine Mountain, given for the Board Members in 1919, with its episodes of Indians, early settlers Uncle William and the School, set against the Pole House Knoll where now the log cabin of Uncle William and Aunt Sal stands. The children wrote this pageant themselves taking whole school sessions to visit Uncle John and Aunt Sis and Aunt Sal to get the proper atmosphere and of course the properties were all real, the flint lock gun, the linsey skirt, etc.

“Robin Hood” (Brit Wilder) as Robin Hood play. [kingman_027a]

The naivete of early presentations of Twelfth Night and the Merchant of Venice was lost as the years went on, until we wondered in 1925 as we watched Orlando and Rosalind, if they could still be Pine Mountain children, so elaborate and smooth was the performance. In 1927 the High School’s presentation of Sun-Up was memorable, showing the children’s real understanding of mountain characters. During the last five years we have made a deliberate effort to return to absolute simplicity in the matter of costumes and properties, that the children’s imagination might keep at work unaided, and they have responded well. We have been delighted particularly with the ingenuity of their impromptu charades.

Workers’ plays have enlivened the long winters when the school family, penned up by bad roads and bad weather, could only turn in upon itself for diversion. The Rose and the Ring of 1922, the Queen of Hearts in 1925, A Welsh Honeymoon in 1927, are high spots in the light of our memory.

WELLS RECORD PMSS 16 Dramatics 1913-1928

“Nativity Play,” [kingman_028b]

The Christmas Play [Nativity Play] has evolved, like the early mystery plays, gradually, to its present lovely adaptability to our Chapel chancel, being first given in the House in the Woods, then in the School-house [Mary Sinclair Burkham School House I – II]. The present perfection of costume and lighting can never supplant for us who saw the beautiful and touching simplicity of the first manger scene when the shepherds wore raincoats turned inside-out and every character, in makeshift costume, was thoroughly living the part. The present play is partly the work of the children who have suggested and changed the lines from year to year and partly of Mrs. Zande who chose the scripture passages for the prophets and fitted the dramatic incident into the service list.


EVELYN K. WELLS Staff – Biography


EVELYN K. WELLS GUIDE to Excerpts from Letters Home 1915-1923

WELLS RECORD OF PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL Guide 1913-1928 [INDEX] – 22 sections of Pine Mountain Settlement School History gathered by Evelyn K. Wells from 1913 to 1928]

PERCY MACKAYE Visitor – Biography 


Wells, Evelyn K. The Ballad Tree: A Study of British and American Ballads, Their Folklore, Verse and Music, Together with Sixty Traditional Ballads and Their Tunes. New York: Ronald Press, 1950. Print.

EVELYN K. WELLS Publications 1920 “A Little True Blue American,”  Over Sea and Land: Our Southern Mountains, November 1920, p. 140.


EVELYN K. WELLS PMSS Harvard University Address 1955, on Folk Music. July 21, 1955