Preview Cart Checkout

Become a Member

Join Today!

Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

Receive our Newsletter


64th Annual Spring Conference: Willa Cather and the Theater

64th Annual Spring Conference: Willa Cather and the Theater

Thursday, May 30, 2019 to Saturday, June 1, 2019
National Willa Cather Center
413 North Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 68970

Join us in Red Cloud, Nebraska, for this year's Spring Conference as we explore Willa Cather's relation to the theater—from her early experiences on the stage to her early career as a critic, from her own early fictional depictions of the theater to modern theatrical stagings of Cather's work and life! This year's conference will dig into Cather's own thoughts on theatrical performance and give us new insights into how that translates into her own literary artistry. We hope you'll find this event a fun and fascinating dive in to Cather's theatrical world!

Featured guests include:

L. Kent Wolgamott is an entertainment, music, and arts critic at the Lincoln Journal Star in Lincoln, Nebraska, a role that he has filled for more than 34 years. Like Cather, he grew up in a small Nebraska town before attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and beginning a career in arts criticism. At the 2018 Mayor’s Arts Awards, given by the Lincoln Arts Council, Wolgamott was honored for artistic achievement in the literary arts for his coverage of the Lincoln arts scene.

Ron Hull is a member of the Willa Cather National Statuary Hall Selection Committee and served on the Willa Cather Foundation Board of Governors for 36 years. His 39-year career with Nebraska Educational Television and the national Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington, D.C., is legendary. Hull joined NETV in 1954, becoming program manager in 1955, and may be best known for building appreciation of Nebraska literature through his programming at NETV in the 1960s. Hull’s memoir, Backstage: Stories from My Life in Public Television, recounts his many television exploits.

Julia Hinson is a freelance director and teaching artist originally from Hastings, Nebraska. Hinson has a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Memphis, a MA in Theater from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a MFA in Directing from East 15 Acting school in London. Her directing credits include Eric Hermannson’s Soul (KC Fringe, Edinburgh) her adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Skull (Three Branch Festival- London), and OH/Pioneers (Red Cloud Opera House).

Conference Schedule

Conference Schedule
Conference Schedule

Thursday, May 30

3:30     "Homecoming & Horizons" Welcome & Remarks

4:00     "Artifacts & Oddities"
                 Bring your historical Webster County or Cather-related items to showcase


                Welcome Home event 
                Explore a special viewing of original artifacts, unexhibited for many years

5:30    Celebratory toast and announcement     
               with special guests sculptor Littleton Alston and NET Television's Ron Hull

6:30     Burlington Depot Social
               with food vendors, cocktails, and music and competitive croquet!

Friday, May 31

9:00     Scholarship presentations and student essays

10:30   Arts in Education panel with Patsy Koch Johns,
                Lois Goosic, Pam Vap & students

12:00   Conference lunch

1:30     Special guest speaker, Ron Hull of NET Television

2:45     Cather Takes the Stage panel with playwrights
                Julia Hinson, A.P. Andrews, and Bonnie Morris

4:00     Special guest speaker, L. Kent Wolgamott
                of the Lincoln Journal Star

5:30    Artists’ Reception

7:30    Conference dinner

Saturday, June 1

8:00     Coffee and kolache

8:30     Service at Grace Episcopal with handbell music by Bell-issimo!

10:00    “The Passing Show” panel with
                Mark Robison, L Kent Wolgamott, Patsy Koch Johns

12:00    Lunch on your own

1:30      Wait, Wait... Don’t Oversell Me!, a comedy panel quiz show
                from the criticism of Willa Cather

3:00     Camille screening & discussion


                Reader’s Theater at Red Cloud’s historic sites

6:30     Spring Conference banquet and A Little Pleasure,
                a new work, adapted for the stage by Julia Hinson
                from Cather’s short fiction, criticism, and biography

Educators Scholarship

Educators Scholarship
Educators Scholarship
To advance our educational mission, the Willa Cather Foundation created the Educators Scholarship in 2016. In partnership with the Thistlewood Foundation, we will award two teachers or administrators complementary registrations to the Willa Cather Spring Conference and $500 travel grants to offset the cost of travel and lodging. This program allows educators to experience the Cather historic sites, the cultural opportunities, the growing body Cather scholarship, and the camaraderie that our Spring Conference offers. It is our sincere hope that these awards will facilitate a dynamic exchange of ideas between Cather researchers and educators, upon whom we rely for our next generation of Cather readers. To apply for the Educators Scholarship, please complete the application that follows. Questions may be directed to education director Tracy Tucker, at 402-746-2653 or The application deadline is March 15 annually, and recipients will be notified by March 30.

Become a Conference Sponsor

Become a Conference Sponsor
Become a Conference Sponsor

Upgrade your Spring Conference experience by becoming a conference sponsor! In addition to supporting our mission-driven educational activities, conference sponsors are recognized in our printed materials, and many of our sponsors also receive complementary performance tickets, bonus registrations, and premium, sponsors-only epxeriences. For more information, see the sponsor sheet below or contact Jill Swartzendruber at (402) 746-2653.