By: JEFFREY REYNOLDS SPORTS EDITOR
August 3, 2012
Special to the Daily News
Artists Collaborative Theatre (ACT) in Elkhorn City, with the support of Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne Rutherford; Pike County Tourism, Convention and Visitors Bureau (Pike County Tourism CVB); and Pike County Cooperative Extension Service, is excited to announce the development of a script for an original production detailing the Hatfield and McCoy feud. The theatre is already in contact with playwrights to commission an original script depicting the events and drama of the famous eastern Kentucky/ West Virginia feud. The production will add to the history rich area by allowing theatre patrons to “see and experience” history.
The artistic director of ACT, Stephanie Richards, said, “I’m so thrilled about this opportunity as is our board of directors. We’re beyond excited to be asked to bring this story to the stage and to the public.” While project discussions have circled the feud, it was at the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Hatfield & McCoy Town Hall Forum that ACT was invited to head the theatrical production for Pike County.
The feud, which lasted for decades, involved the Hatfields of West Virginia, led by William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield and the McCoys of Kentucky, led by Randolph McCoy. Fighting between the two families was national news at the time and brought Kentucky and West Virginia to the brink of war.
Every year, tourists come to Pike County to see the area and relics from the days of the feud. The History Channel’s original miniseries Hatfields & McCoys has boosted tourism numbers even higher in recent months and scored huge ratings, along with 16 Emmy nominations, for the network.
ACT will add a valuable facet to the growing number of possibilities that tourists have to experience the famous feud. Through the efforts of Pike County Tourism CVB, there are two tour options for visitors to immerse themselves in the history of the feud. The Hatfield-McCoy Driving Tour is a self-guided tour which includes all of the sites of the feud. Guided tours of the Pikeville sites are also available and feature a local historian. Soon, the story will unfold live allowing tourists and locals to the area to witness history where it happened! Locations are in discussion to best serve the story in its site specific locales. ACT will be utilizing the knowledge and passion of our local historians to best represent the truth of the feud.
ACT is celebrating its ten year anniversary this month! It was in 2002 when ACT launched onto the theatre scene with national attention with the groundbreaking and widely loved production, The Kentucky Cycle. Since that first production, ACT has won several regional and national awards, becoming Kentucky’s most award-winning community theatre. The non-profit theatre will be entering its fifth season in its black box theatre home September, kicking off with Pump Boys and Dinettes.