Charles Adron Farris III
Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2017
Charles Adron Farris III, a recent doctoral graduate in theatre and performance studies with a certificate in Native American Studies, is recognized for his contributions to the study of indigenous American theater and performance. His dissertation was the first intensive study of two well-known Cherokee outdoor dramas originally intended to attract tourists: Unto These Hills, performed since 1950 in North Carolina, and Trail of Tears, performed since 1969 in Oklahoma. Farris analyzed the plays’ construction of misleading historical narratives, recent efforts to replace the scripts with more accurate and culturally sensitive versions, and the mixed response from Cherokee communities and tourists. He identified the need for historical outdoor drama to match the cultural expectations of audiences as the cause of repeated commercial disappointment, and ultimately the decline of this theatrical genre.