Auditions for Liberty to take place Sunday

The Overmountain Men have sounded the call. Those who would join their ranks for their annual performance will gather at Sycamore Shoals State Park to determine who shall join their numbers this year.

The annual Liberty drama will host their auditions this Sunday, Feb. 24, starting at 2 p.m.

Tony DeVault, director of the performance, said auditions are open to absolutely anyone who has an interest.

“There will be 60 speaking roles,” DeVault said. “We also need technicians and greeters.”

Liberty, originally known as the Wataugans, is a two-act drama depicting the early history of the East Tennessee era, from the first settlers who broke British law and settled into Cherokee lands to the formation of the state of Tennessee.

DeVault said the drama is about as old as Sycamore Shoals State Park itself.

“The park was established in 1976, and two years later they started running the play,” he said.

The play’s significance, he said, ties directly into people’s understanding of early American history. He said many Revolutionary War battles took place here, and several were crucial to an American victory in the end.

“Most people do not think of East Tennessee as all that significant to the war,” DeVault said.

He said such history, including the Battle of King’s Mountain, need to be told.

“This is where we live,” he said.

The drama has been a local custom ever since it started. DeVault said many of the current participants have been taking part since they were kids.

“It is a dramatic way of telling history,” he said. “We have places for a variety of different people.”

Though many performers have been doing the play for years or even decades, he said they encourage anyone who wants to try out to do so.

“We have had a number of people without any acting experience at all, and they were quite good at it,” DeVault said.

Even from the technical side, DeVault said they do not require a lot of technical knowledge, since most of the work comes from the soundboard or the light fixtures.

For newcomers, he said the staff lends a hand.

“We have roles for understudies who can fill in if the main actors are unavailable,” he said. “Depending on their availability, we can work with them.”

Those who succeed in their audition can expect months of rehearsals starting in April, with roughly twice a week.

The actual performances of Liberty will take place on the last three weekends in July, specifically Thursday, Friday and Saturday, or July 11-27.

“We want people to come out and talk with us,” DeVault said. “We want as many people to participate as possible.”

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