Great Basin Young Chautauqua

Developing leaders for Nevada

Founded by Nevada Humanities in 1993, Young Chautauqua is a nationally recognized and award-winning youth program in which young scholars research and portray historical figures. Through monologues and question-and-answer sessions, young scholars – in and out of character – engage their audience in lively discussions and provide insight into historical study. The Young Chautauqua program is a valuable way to increase a young person's understanding of, and engagement with, the humanities. In 2002, Nevada Humanities received a Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities for developing Young Chautauqua. Nevada Humanities celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Young Chautauqua program in 2012. The program continues to inspire and educate children in Nevada and beyond.

The Young Chautauqua Handbook and Creating a Young Chautauqua Program are available from Nevada Humanities for a nominal fee of $5 each, plus shipping, for anyone wishing to learn more about Young Chautauqua or start a program in their own community. Using Great Basin Young Chautauqua as a model, programs now take place in schools and communities throughout Nevada and the nation.

Nevada Humanities' 26th Great Basin Young Chautauqua season!

It’s time for a new year of Great Basin Young Chautauqua (GBYC) and we’re excited to share with you our plans for 2018. Our goal is to provide our Great Basin Young Chautauquans with a dynamic, inspiring, and educational season, in an atmosphere that is both fun and supportive. This year we will again be bringing in a variety of award-winning Chautauquans, theatre groups, and lecturers to help teach and mentor our Young Chautauquans as they work to prepare and perform their monologues. GBYC favorites Frank X. Mullen, Juanita Westbrook, and Doug Mishler, as well as local theater experts, will be leading workshops, and Lindsay Cook will be overseeing the administration of GBYC and facilitating workshops. Young Chautauquans will be giving public performances in May and June, with a larger public performance in June. 


Join Nevada Humanities for a special Great Basin Young Chautauqua Scholars Showcase will be held at Restless Artists’ Theater in Sparks on Thursday, June 28, and Friday, June 29, featuring an array of these talented Young Chautauquans, and emceed by Chautauquan Doug Mishler. Doors open at 5:00 pm, and the shows begin at 6:00 pm sharp! Food and drink will be available for purchase. 





Great Basin Young Chautauqua was founded by Nevada Humanities in 1993. GBYC is an intense program of scholarship, research, rehearsing, and performing. Young Chautauquans commit to developing a theatrical character in late January and spend more than six months reading biographies, learning stories, and rehearsing their character with other Young Chautauquans and workshop leaders at bimonthly meetings. In May and June, their characters are ready and Young Chautauquans perform throughout the Truckee Meadows area, gaining valuable performance experience. They each create a costume and polish flexible 5, 10, and 15- minute monologues that they present to community groups, schools, libraries, and service organizations. Six months of research and practice are shared with the public in a series of celebratory performances.


Participation in the Young Chautauqua program is free and open to all youth ages 8 – 18. Underwriting for the program is provided by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Robert Z. Hawkins Foundation, individual donors, parent and community volunteers, and many other community partners.


There are some minimal expenses associated with participating in the program, which include: costume supplies, and parental transportation to and from workshops and performances. Young Chautauquans receive the annual GBYC t-shirt for participating in the program; any additional t-shirts (for family) need to be purchased. Two scholarships are available to families in need. Contact the Nevada Humanities office for more information. Nevada Humanities provides all creative supplies associated with the workshops. For a detailed FAQ about our program, visit


We are very much looking forward to our 26th season of Nevada Humanities Young Chautauqua. 

Please do not hesitate to contact the Nevada Humanities Young Chautauqua staff with questions. Lindsay Cook and Stephanie Gibson can be reached at yc [at], and the Nevada Humanities office number is 775-784-6587.


Underwriting for the Great Basin Young Chautauqua program is provided by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, NV Energy, the Robert Z. Hawkins Foundation, individual donors, parent and community volunteers, and many other community partners. To contribute to the perpetual health and vitality of this program consider making a gift to Nevada Humanities by visiting our donor page. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.