Plan Your Visit

Plan your visit to Manatee Village Historical Park.

Start now

Partner with us

Partner with us in preserving a piece of Old Florida.

Special Events & Programs

Mark your calendar for upcoming programs!

View Events

Spirit Voices from Old Manatee

This historical, graveside drama is entering its seventh season this fall. The popular special event is a key fundraiser benefiting public programming and preservation projects at Manatee Village Historical Park.

Public performances will be presented on the evenings of: October 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, and 22. Tickets go on sale to the public on Tuesday, September 5, 2017. 

Spirit Voices, Season VII

Tour the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds by torchlight... 

Spirit Voices from Old Manatee is an outdoor historical drama and cemetery tour. The show opens with a Victorian wake held in the 1887 Church. As the story develops, cast and audience continue to "the other side" for a torch-lit tour of the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds as the sun sets. Here, costumed thespians bring to life early pioneers of the Village of Manatee, veteran soldiers from the Seminole and Civil Wars, and other persons of interest in this area. These riveting graveside stories are based on narratives from archives, oral histories, diaries, military logs, books, and legend.  

Spirit Voices from Old Manatee premiered in 2011 as an original living history production. Through this program, the Manatee County Historical Commission fulfills its mission to “preserve and share the heritage of Manatee County’s founding period,” by offering visitors stories from this area's pioneer era.


Actor Auditions

Manatee Village is looking to fill three roles by August 4, 2017 at 5:00pm. Auditions will be by appointment. Please call Manatee Village staff at (941) 749-7165 to schedule.

The available roles are:

POLLY PARKER or BILLY BOWLEGS or BLACK SEMINOLE – Age (late teens and up) and gender are flexible. This character will share the Seminole perspective of the Seminole Wars and white settlement in the Manatee Lands. 

NANCY VANDERIPE CUNLIFFE – Female. Age is flexible (30–60 years old). Cattle family - loving mother, welcoming, community oriented, and supportive of the church.

THOMAS MITCHELL - Male. Age is late teens through mid 30s. Youthful, adventurous. From a family of cattle ranchers. Father was thrifty.  He has been known to search for gold doubloons buried by his father at an unknown location and may has been seen roaming the cemetery at night.

Please fill out this sheet and bring it, along with your resume and head shot, with you to the audition: Director's Sheet for Actors Spirit Voices 2017.pdf

For the audition, please present a monologue of your choosing, or prepare one of the two monologues below:

For women: Permelia Griffin Script.pdf

For men: General Riggin Script.pdf

Creative Director is Announced

Manatee Village is excited to announce that Travis Ray will serve as the Creative Director for Spirit Voices from Old Manatee. 

Travis is an actor, arts manager, and director currently employed at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe as the Associate Managing Director. 

He holds a M.F.A degree in Theatre Management/Arts Administration from the University of Alabama and a B.A. in Theatre Performance from Alabama State University. 

"I am very interested in history and any creative project to support our past," says Travis. "Especially as a person who lives in Bradenton, I want to help share the history with others."

Rehearsal Schedule

  • August 14 – All Cast read-through at Manatee Village Historical Park from 6:30-8:00pm.

  • August 21 through September 28 – Individual and/or group rehearsals are held at Manatee Village Historical Park from 6:30-8:30 Monday-Thursday. Creative Director/ Show Manager must attend all rehearsals.

  • October 1 – Tech and dress rehearsal in cemetery and church starting at 9:30am.

  • October 3 – Full dress rehearsal of the church performance in the 1887 Church.

  • October 4 – Full dress rehearsal of the graveyard performance in the Manatee Burying Grounds.

Performance Schedule

  • First weekend Friday, October 6 (opening night/full moon performance); and Saturday, October 7
  • Second weekend: Thursday, October 12; Friday, October 13; Saturday, October 14; and Sunday, October 15
  • Third weekend: Thursday, October 19; Friday, October 20; Saturday, October 21; Sunday, October 22 (closing night in the historic church)
  • Location Map


    Village Hours

    Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm. Second and fourth Saturdays, 9am to 4pm. Manatee Village is closed for public holidays and their corresponding weekends.


    1404 Manatee Avenue East 
    (SR 64)
    Bradenton, FL. 34208



    Village Hours

    Monday – Friday and 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month 

    9:00am – 4:00pm

    Manatee Village will be closed Tuesday, May 2nd for an In Service Work Day.