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March 29, 2010

Award-winning actor Mamie Gummer opens CW’s artist-in-residence program May 1

Award-winning 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 11 a.m. and 2 p.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 the opportunity to appear in Revolutionary City or Revolutionary Stories, the interactive “street theater” offered daily in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. 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 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. Both performances require a Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or Good Neighbor Pass and a free reservation. Guests may make reservations by telephone at (757) 229-2141 or toll-free, 1-(800)-HISTORY, and pick up their reserved ticket at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket sales location.

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. In anticipation of Lady Dunmore’s arrival, the Costume Design Center staff will offer a special tour of the facility focused on fashion and the Dunmore gowns from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 29. The tour requires a free reservation which can be made at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket sales location. For more than 75 years, the Costume Design Center has created colonial attire for the Historic Area.

Lady Dunmore’s anticipated arrival will be the hot topic of evening conversation among both contemporary and 18th-century guests of King’s Arms Tavern. The tavern staff will serve up a special celebratory dinner Friday, April 30 complete with keepsake menus. Reservations required and available by telephone at (757) 229-2141 or toll-free, 1-(800)-HISTORY.

The midday guests of Chowning’s Tavern will enjoy Saturday lunch accompanied by special entertainment — balladeers, Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums, and a magician — and a keepsake menu. Reservations not required.

Following Saturday’s second performance, Lady Dunmore travels by carriage from the Governor’s Palace to the Williamsburg Inn where she will join other 18th-century People of the Past and modern guests for tea at 3 p.m. Tickets are $38 per person and include a keepsake menu. Space is limited and reservations are available at (757) 229-2141 or toll-free, 1-(800)-HISTORY.

Sunday brunch at the Williamsburg Lodge concludes the special weekend on a fashion note May 2. Costumed interpreters in their best 18th-century finery provide guests with helpful directions for finding examples of costumes in the Historic Area and the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Reservations required and available by telephone at (757) 229-2141 or toll-free, 1-(800)-HISTORY.

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. For more information, visit Other programming highlights include Festival Williamsburg, special dining events and a wide range of family activities.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City® program.

Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281