Appalachian Summer Theater Series Continues with Gary Carden’s "Outlander," with Music by Joe Penland, on July 31 at UNC Asheville’s OLLI


A piece of Smoky Mountain history will come to the stage when Outlander, written by award-winning storyteller Gary Carden, with mountain music by Joe Penland, is presented at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 31 at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center. Seating will be general admission with tickets $6 at the door.

The play, which tells the story of the creation of Great Smoky Mountain National Park, will be performed as readers theater by The Autumn Players of Asheville Community Theatre. Following the performance, Carden will lead a discussion of the controversies and conflicts between longtime mountain residents and the “outsiders” who advocated preservation through establishment of national park lands.

Carden, a native of Sylva, N.C., is a collector of Appalachian and Cherokee folklore, a professional storyteller, and was a long-time columnist for the Smoky Mountain News. He received the North Carolina Arts Council Award for Literature in 2012 and the Brown-Hudson Folklore Award in 2006. His books include Appalachian Bestiary (Gary Carden, 2013), Mason Jars in the Flood & Other Stories (Parkway Publishers, 2000) and Belled Buzzard, Hucksters & Grieving Spectres: Strange & True Talks of the Appalachian Mountains (Down Home Press, 1994).

Joe PenlandPenland, born and raised in Madison County, learned the traditional ballads of the Western North Carolina mountains from his elders and has shared this music, along with his original songs, with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. His recordings include The Answer to My Prayer, Standing on Tradition and On Shakey Ground.

This performance is a joint project of The Autumn Players of Asheville Community Theatre, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville, bringing together a group of seasoned actors with an internationally acclaimed learning community for seniors. Outlander is the second of three plays in OLLI’s Appalachian Summer Theater Series at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center. The final performance in the series, A Lee Smith Patchwork, is a new monodrama based on the works of Lee Smith and performed by Barbara Bates Smith (no relation), which will take place on August 7.

For more information, visit the OLLI website or call 828.251.6140.