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East County residents Patricia McCullen, Caroline Cox and Leona Braun will put their acting skills to use this weekend during an interactive show, in which they play some of the area’s original settlers.
East County Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 5 years ago

Women bring founders to life

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

EAST COUNTY — Patricia McCullen sees dead people. Or rather, she plays one of them, she says smiling.

The Greenfield Plantation resident and Leona Braun, also of Greenfield Plantation, and Caroline Cox, of Mill Creek, will share their passion for theater and interest in local history starting this weekend, as they play key roles in the Manatee County Historical Commission and Manatee County Clerk of Court’s annual production of “Spirit Voices from Old Manatee.”

The interactive show begins at the Manatee Village Historical Park and takes guests on a tour of the neighboring burial grounds. Performances run Oct. 12 through Oct. 14 and Oct. 19 through Oct. 20, with performances at 4 and 7 p.m.; tickets cost $17. Prepurchase is recommended because space is limited.

“I came last year to see the production,” said McCullen, who is acting in the show for the first time. “I think it’s (a great program).”

McCullen, Braun and Cox will wear period garb as they recount their lives as Louisa Tresca, Mary Gates and Ellen Clark McNeill, respectively. Gates was the first woman of the founding family to arrive and homestead on the Manatee River, while McNeill managed a mercantile/trading post with her first husband, before becoming the mistress of the Gamble Mansion, in Ellenton. Tresca, a widow, remarried a French sea captain.

“We feel like we have to do them justice,” Braun said. “I’m happy to be part of this. I’m very proud to be a Gates.”

Cox agreed.

“We’re relating to real people,” she said. “I want to make it the best I can for (my character),” she said.
Tickets can be reserved up to 36 hours in advance if not sold out. Call 741-4075.

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