Lees-McRae Summer Theatre Kicks off 2024 Season with “The Edgar Tufts Story”

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July 2, 2024

Lees-McRae Summer Theatre Kicks off 2024 Season with “The Edgar Tufts Story”

Lees-McRae Summer Theatre kicks off 2024 season and college’s 125th anniversary with local history production “From the Mountaintop: The Edgar Tufts Story”

BANNER ELK, N.C.─ One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Rev. Edgar Tufts changed Banner Elk and the surrounding community forever when he founded Lees-McRae College, Grace Hospital, Grandfather Home for Children, and the town’s first Presbyterian Church building. Tufts saw needs in the community, and he had a vision to serve those around him. As the official kick-off of the college’s year-long 125th anniversary celebration, Lees-McRae Summer Theatre will open its 2024 season with a production that dives deep into this local history, “From the Mountaintop: The Edgar Tufts Story.”

The original musical is written and directed by Lees-McRae Summer Theatre’s own Janet Barton Speer, in collaboration with JT and Tommy Oaks, and tells the story of Tufts’ journey from a young seminary student to integral local figure. The production employs traditional mountain music to let audiences in on Tufts’ life as he transformed this area of the state.

“When I wrote this show, I had the great privilege of interviewing folks who have lived in our area for years. The more I researched, the more I felt compelled to spread this story,” Speer said. “Edgar Tufts was almost too good to be true, but he was just that good, and it’s just that true.”

Tickets to all showings of “From the Mountaintop: The Edgar Tufts Story” are on sale now. There will be performances at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m., with eight total showings of the production Tuesday, July 16 through Tuesday, July 23.  

Purchase tickets now >>


Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Lees-McRae College is a private, residential college that awards baccalaureate and graduate degrees. At nearly 4,000 feet—the highest elevation of any campus on the East Coast—the college celebrates its location through distinct programming. An emphasis on experiential education inspires students to learn by doing and gain broad knowledge through study across disciplines. To provide continuing education opportunities for all, the college also offers bachelor’s and master’s programs online and in surrounding communities. For more information, please visit www.lmc.edu or call 828.898.5241.