Tales from the Altamaha is an annual play presented by a cast of dedicated, creative, hilarious volunteers from Lyons and surrounding cities. Each year we perform a new set of tales based on the writings of Colonel T. Ross Sharpe, a local attorney, who wrote a column for The Lyons Progress in the 1950s and 60s. His essays spotlighted life along the Altamaha River and the many colorful personalities who called this area “home.” In 2003, Colonel Sharpe’s daughter, Luray Reid, presented these writings to the Lyons Better Hometown. Program Director Joy Lewis recognized right away the potential for a folk-life play. Lyons Better Hometown, now Lyons Main Street, took on the tremendous challenge of turning these stories into an award-winning folk life play.
The first production titled “Life On the River” was presented in the spring of 2005 at the Blue Marquee Theater. It opened to standing room only crowds and sold out all eight performances. Tales by any standard was a remarkable success. In a two-week period, local “stars” were made and a local bluegrass band, now known as the “The River Rat Review Band,” received an all-new persona that has since exposed their music to many new fans. In fact, in its very first year, Tales from the Altamaha won an award. Subsequent plays from 2006 to 2017 also enjoyed success and acclaim. The Lyons Better Hometown Program selects a different set of stories each year and creates a brand new experience on the stage at the Blue Marquee Theater in Lyons during April.
Our joy and excitement in the success of Tales from the Altamaha is diminished only by the fact that the lady who made it all possible didn’t live to see it come to fruition. Luray lost a courageous battle with Leukemia in June of 2004. She was a gracious and charming lady who is greatly missed by her fellow visionaries. She will never be forgotten for her contributions to Lyons with each and every presentation of Tales from the Altamaha.