Successful Festival -- and more coming!

 The courthouse yard during the Scopes Trial
The County Courthouse yard during the Scopes Trial in 1925

A sold-out house, extended performances and rave reviews characterized the 2014 Scopes Festival, and set the stage for the 27th festival in 2015.

More than 1,300 guests filled the Rhea County Courthouse to see the inaugural production of "Front Page News," a play with music produced in collaboration with the Cumberland County Playhouse. A sell-out the first weekend convinced Festival officials to extend the run for three additional performances and to plan for two weekends in 2015.

"Jim Crabtree and our new friends from the Cumberland County Playhouse (CCP) brought a new excitement to the festival, despite the rain which washed out most outside activities," Festival Chairman Tom Davis said. "We believe the enthusiasm with which our guests responded means we have found a partner that will help us tell the story of "The World's Most Famous Court Trial" in a way that will attract visitors to Rhea County and make Rhea countians proud."

At the same time, the Cumberland County Playhouse is offering additional opportunities for area residents to enjoy in Dayton the top-quality productions for which the theatre is known around the region.

Recently CCP presented "Smoke on the Mountain" in the Rhea County Courthouse, and plans to present "A Sanders Family Christmas" in the same venue on November 30.

"A Sanders Family Christmas" is in its 16th CCP season, featuring a visit by the Gospel- and holiday-singin' Sanders Family, in 1941 just after Pearl Harbor, to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church (played by our historic Scopes courtroom!)in rural North Carolina.  

"These 'extra' plays are another example of the benefits Rhea County will reap from our partnership with the Playhouse," Mr. Davis said. "And we're proud to have a part in helping the Playhouse extend its outreach in the region."

The partnership between the Playhouse and Festival has been made possible in part through the generous support of Rhea County and the City of Dayton through the County Commission's and City Council's underwriting of "Front Page News." In addition, sponsors for the Festival are Life Care Center of Rhea County and First Bank of Tennessee.


Support from Rhea Medical Center, Karen Boyd of Edward Jones financial services, Dr. Tom Bovine and Judge Shannon Garrison is making possible "Smoke on the Mountain" and "A Sanders Family Christmas." Playhouse productions of “Smoke on the Mountain” and “A Sanders Family Christmas” are sponsored by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Tickets for "A Sanders Family Christmas" may be reserved here.

The Scopes Festival is proudly sponsored by:

 Rhea County seal  City of Dayton seal MainStreet Dayton 
Rhea County Radio logo (WDNT, WRHA, 970 & 1280 AM)

 Life Care Center of Rhea County

 10055 Rhea County Hwy, 
Dayton, TN  (423) 847-6777

   First Bank of Tennessee