Imagine if, right here in our backyard, there were an affordable, family-friendly, educational, award-winning event featuring local students who’ve devoted months of research and rehearsal to a production that has gained national acclaim for the past three decades?
Wouldn’t that pique your interest?
Welcome to Tales from the Crypt, a production of the history department at Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. Each year, MSMS students under the direction of history teacher Chuck Yarborough — 27 students this year — lead graveyard tours at historic Friendship Cemetery, portraying some of the people who are interred there. Since African-Americans were historically not buried at Friendship, some students portray the slaves of those buried there. Students research their chosen person and tell their stories in first-person, dressed in the period costumes those they portray might have worn.
For students, it’s a great way of learning how to do historical research and perform before an audience. If you have ever attended the event, you immediately recognize that the students are well-prepared, entertaining and informative.
In bringing their subjects back to life, in a manner of speaking, the students allow the audience to learn about our community’s history in a unique and thoroughly entertaining way. The night-time tours through the old cemetery, which opened in 1849, certainly provide a powerful backdrop to the performances.
For years, Tales from the Crypt has been a wonderful complement to the Columbus Pilgrimage.
This year, 927 visitors have taken the tour during its first three performances, which seems to us to barely scratch the surface, given the quality of the event.
The 45-minute tour costs just $5 for adults and $3 for students. Admission is free for preschoolers. It’s hard to imagine a better value for your entertainment dollar.
For those who have never attended — or those who haven’t attended this year — there is one final opportunity.
Friday, Tales of the Crypt holds its final performance of the year, with tours beginning at 7 p.m.
Tickets and information can be obtained online at preservecolumbus.com.
It would be a shame to miss out, don’t you think?
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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