Lady Dunsmore prepares for the ball

Acclaimed actor Mamie Gummer will debut as The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s first artist-in-residence. She will star as Lady Dunmore, in a new Revolutionary Story® scene, “Lady Dunmore Prepares for the Ball.”

During two performances at 11a.m. and 2p.m. May 1, Gummer will portray Charlotte, The Lady Dunmore, whose arrival in colonial Virginia was highly publicized and celebrated. Fully costumed in 18th-century attire and working from a script based on historical fact, Gummer will appear in an open air theater on the grounds of the Governor’s Palace. She is the first of several actors who will participate in the new artist-in-residence (AIR) program. AIR was created to give artists who love history a chance to appear in Revolutionary City or Revolutionary Stories, the interactive “street theatre” that is offered daily in the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg. Revolutionary City and Revolutionary Stories have been created to involve guests in the most compelling stories that took place in colonial Virginia, keeping the lessons of history fresh and relevant for today.

“I’m very excited to return to Williamsburg, Virginia, and perform in such a unique educational setting,” said Gummer about her participation in the program.

The scene, “Lady Dunmore Prepares for the Ball” takes place May 26, 1774. It centers on Lady Dunmore’s preparation for the official welcome ball held in her honor at the Capitol. Lady Dunmore was the wife of John Murray, the fourth Earl of Dunmore, who held a seat in the British Parliament’s House of Lords prior to being appointed colonial governor of New York. When Lord Dunmore was appointed Governor of Virginia in 1774, Lady Dunmore joined her husband in America. Of all the notable arrivals in colonial Virginia, the most publicized and celebrated arrival was that of Lady Dunmore and her children.

Colonial Williamsburg’s Costume Design Center will be tailoring custom gowns for Mamie Gummer’s role in addition to constructing period fabric footwear. The Foundation’s costume center has a distinguished reputation in the global community, thanks in part to their designers’ exquisite attention to detail and authenticity in design. The costume center is currently celebrating its 75th year as a purveyor of colonial attire for the Historic Area.

Mamie Gummer made her New York stage debut in 2005 in the Roundabout Theatre production of Mr. Marmalade, for which she earned a Theatre World Award, and appeared on Broadway in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Her film work includes Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock and the upcoming independent feature, Coach. She portrayed Sally Smith Adams, daughter-in-law of John and Abigail Adams, portrayed by Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney in the Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries John Adams which was filmed in part on location in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. A New York native, Mamie Gummer graduated from Northwestern University and studied theater at the British Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Ms. Gummer’s appearance is just one of the many highlights of Colonial Williamsburg’s new interactive programming for 2010, which offers guests the opportunity to participate in new scenes at the Governor’s Palace, the Capitol building, and R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse, the only 18th-century coffeehouse in the United States. Other programming highlights include Festival Williamsburg, special dining events, and a wide range of family activities.

Images: All images property of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Post: Thanks to Victoriana daily

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