Who We Are

Chautauqua (pronounced Shuh – TAWK – wuh) is an Iroquois word, meaning either “two moccasins tied together”, “bag tied at the middle”, “where the fish are taken out” or “jumping fish.”‘


The Chautauqua tradition an adult education movement featuring lectures, plays, and musical performances; the word is also used for any single organization pursuing this activity.

The idea was originated in 1874 in Chautauqua, New York, which lends its name to the format, but was soon copied paralleled elsewhere.

We were incorporated as a society in 1982 to provide professional entertainment to Edson and district. We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary with the coming season.


Chautauqua - a reality • Edson Leader, October 27, 1982

Edson Chautauqua is a group of interested people in this town who would like to see live entertainment in Edson.

A questionnaire which they circulated earlier this fall had a positive response, but only  a handful of people turned up for the general meeting called on Tuesday, October 19.

The purpose of this meeting was to form a core group of at least eight people who would take charge of the Arts Council and start planning for the up coming season.

Due to the small turn-out it was decided that one last chance meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 26, at Parkland Composite High School. It is hoped enough interested people will attend so the idea of bringing live entertainment to Edson can become a reality.

Chautauqua - Edson Arts Council • Edson Leader, November 24, 1982

After much hard work on the part of the steering committee consisting of Jean Hatlen, Colleen Calvert, Joanna Grant and Rory MacDonald, Edson now has an Arts Council.

The purpose of the Arts Council is to develop community interest and participation in the “Cultural arts” through initially bringing performing artists to Edson and gradually expanding to the other areas of Art.

The executive for Chautauqua is: President: Chantal Slakman, Vice-president: Colleen Calvert, Secretary-Treasurer: Mike Hiffe, Publicity and Bookings: Lovern Snidar, Fronthouse Manager: Linda Best, Hospitality: Christine Kesane, Ticket Sales: Othella Jenkins.

This group of hard working volunteers are currently organizing the upcoming season of live entertainment.

A GENERAL MEETING will be held on Thursday, November 25, 7:30 p.m. at Parkland High School, classroom 3. All interested people please attend to find out who will be performing this season.

Edson Chautauqua alive and well • Edson Leader, December 1, 1982

Edson Chautauqua met in Parkland Composite High School on Thursday, November 25.

Ms Colleen Calvert, vice-president, took the chair.

An informative newsletter was distributed.

Edson Chautauqua, which was formed to bring live entertainment to Edson, has decided on the shows it will bring to Edson in this, its first season. They are: Bobby Curtola, Beverly Ross, Paul Hann and HMS Pinafore a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.

The first performance will take place towards the end of January or in early February.

Funds have to be raised to cover costs. The main money raising method will be the sale of season tickets to the performances.

These tickets are priced at $30 or $20 for senior citizens.

Buying a ticket will entitle the buyer to attend each performance to become a member of Chautauqua which gives him voting rights in the organization, to attend the open house receptions planned after each performance and to attend a film which will be brought in some time during the season.

Tickets are fully transferable. If a person does not wish to use his ticket he can sell or give it to someone else.

Edson Chautauqua will soon be registered,under the Society’s Act. As a result all donations can be deducted from income tax. This also applies to non-used returned tickets.

If there is any room some tickets will be available at the door. Children or relatives of season ticket holders will be given preferential treatment in the sale of door tickets.

It is hoped that in future seasons no door tickets will be sold at all, as is the case in other Alberta towns where available season tickets are completely sold out in the first month of organization. Tickets will soon be on sale, but if you want to make sure of getting one you can pay now by contracting any of the officers of the Society.

Special film shows for children are planned for December 20, 22, and 28 to be shown at 1 p.m. at the Pine Grove School; admission $1.

Edson Chautauqua hopes to raise funds through donations by local citizens and businesses. It also plans to hold a local talent show some time during the new year.

Help will be needed. The major project right now needing helpers is the sale of tickets. Help is also requested for the children’s film shows and at the performances.

If you are willing to help selling tickets contact Othelia Jenkins 723-3659.

If you can help with the children’s shows call Linda Best 723-4048.

Hospitality chairman for the performances is Christine Kesans 723-5291.

For any further information contact publicity chairperson Lavern Snidar at 723-3065.

This was an exceptional meeting. It started right on time. The agenda was well prepared. There was no superfluous talking and the meeting adjourned within one hour.



Chautauqua, Edson Arts Council is an organization dedicated to bringing quality, unique Canadian acts to Edson audiences.

From cowboy prose to classical music and comedy shows to thought-provoking dramas, Chautauqua has been wowing Edson audiences for decades.



Doug Woodhouse – President

Douglas is an active member of the arts community serving on several boards including the Arts Centre for Edson Society (ACES), Community Arts Network of Edson (CANOE), and Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta (ATAA).

Robyne Wilock – Secretary

Robyne had enjoyed being a Chautauqua audience member for many years. She recently decided to volunteer so she could work with other arts-minded people in the community and be part of bringing these amazing shows to Edson.

Marilyn Dudinsky – Tickets

Marilyn has lived in the Shining Bank/Whitecourt area for many years, but is new to the town of Edson and to Chautauqua. A lover of arts and culture, Marilyn was the founder of the Whitecourt House Concert Committee and is excited to see such a supportive arts community here in Edson!

Wally McMorran – Fundraising

Wally is 69 years young and has been married to Lynn for 48 years. Together, they have 3 children, 5 grand children, and 2 great grand children. Wally worked 41 years at the Coal Valley mine. He is currently in his 33rd year as a volunteer firefighter with the Edson Fire Department. An active member for 10 years, Wally is currently serving as the chairman of the Edson and District Recycle Society. Chautauqua has now had my attention for the last 6 years.

Eva Kuefler

Gary Kuefler