Cantilever Theater (continued)

Three stories of national significance from the Little Cities of Black Diamonds micoregion will be featured in short living history vignettes performed by regional actors during the performance.  The stories to be told emerge from the Hocking Valley Coal Boom Era (1870-1930). They feature the region’s pioneering role in the nation’s labor movement; the breaking of color and ethnic barriers by African Americans and European immigrants here during that period; and one of the nation’s first federally funded environmental clean-ups at the end of the boom era by the Civilian Conservation Corps and WPA workers that led to the creation of Ohio’s only national forest here during the Depression.

The architecture of the remnant mining communities of this mineral rich region that includes portions of Ohio’s Perry, Hocking, Athens and Morgan Counties has been celebrated along with its nationally significant history. Features range from Victorian detailing and impressive opera houses to locally produced bricks, company houses and second story overhanging porches, known also as cantilevered porches. These iconic second story porches served as the front porches for shopkeepers who followed the coal boom here and operated their businesses in storefronts below. The event’s organizers wish to call attention to their historic value as time and decay threaten to erase their presence on the region’s visual landscape.

The Little Cities Cantilever Theater is produced and directed by Dayton Willison who explains, “Seating will be provided on the street. Staging from this venue is an exciting challenge. It’s perfect for Nelsonville. It’s not hard to imagine the lively conversation that took place from porch to porch during more prosperous times in these towns. We hope to give a taste of that experience to our patrons.” The performance will take place during Nelsonville’s Final Friday event which takes place from 6-9pm on the final Friday of every month on Public Square in Athens County community.

The event is part of a series of events titled Little Cities Appalachian Spring.  For more information about other Appalachian Spring events click here or contact the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council at 740-394-3011 or via e-mail at

IMG_0948Cantilever Theater premiered October 2014 in Shawnee during Little Cities of Black Diamonds Day.  Ron Luce portrays union organizer Chris Evans. 

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