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Spirit Voices from Old Manatee

Thank you to everyone making our final season of Spirit Voices such a success! We are now SOLD OUT of every cemetery show. We do still have tickets available for the seated performance in our 1887 Church on Sunday, October 22. Call (941) 749-7165 to reserve tickets for Sunday night.

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 starting at 7:00pm on the evenings of: October 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, and 22. 

Tickets are $20.00 per person and may be purchased in person, by mail (1404 Manatee Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34208), or over the phone (941-749-7165), using cash, check, money order, or credit card.

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.

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)

    Thank you to our generous donors and sponsors who have made this show possible: Manatee County Historical Society, Hickory Hollow, Republican Party of Manatee County, the Great Great Granddaughter of John Curry and Mary Ward Kemp, Shannon Funeral Homes, P.A., A.P. Bell Fish Co., Inc. and P.J's Sandwich Shop.

    Introducing Director Sam Sanford

    Manatee Village is happy to announce that Sam Sanford will serve as Creative Director for the seventh and final season of Spirit Voices from Old Manatee.

    Sam is a recent graduate of the New College of Florida, where she studied History, with a focus on theater's role as a tool for civic education both in the past and to the present day.

    In addition to her historical work, Sam is also excited to return to directing, especially outdoor theater. "Spirit Voices's combination of historical locations and characters with theater provides a thrilling opportunity to bring the history of Manatee County to audiences in a fun and engaging way," says Sam.

    Manatee Village thanks Sam for her hard work in bringing this production to life.

    Manatee Village welcomes the 2017 cast of Spirit Voices

    Each year, volunteer actors bring to life characters based on real early pioneers of Manatee Village. The script for each character is based on archives, diaries, military logs, books, oral histories, and legends.

    Manatee Village thanks our volunteer actors for donating their time and energy to this production. Over the past six years, the money raised from ticket sales has helped fund four major preservation projects on our buildings.

    • Faith Moore as Delia Stephens...Faith has acted in school and professional plays, including Annie, the Little Mermaid, and the Wiz. This is her second year acting in Spirit Voices.
    • Lisa Moore as Roxie Stephens...Lisa is a real estate attorney in Bradenton. This is Lisa's second year acting in Spirit Voices, with her children, Faith and Sam.
    • Sam Moore as John Stephens...Sam is starting the 7th grade and has experience script writing and performing with his Odyssey of the Mind team. This is his second season of Spirit Voices.
    • M. K. Marion as Sallie Stephens...M.K. has been seen in several shows in the Sarasota-Manatee area, primarily the Sarasota Players. This is her second year portraying Sallie Stephens.
    • Jack Labar as Reverend Trice...Jack is a retired historian and is reprising his role in Spirit Voices for the third year. 
    • Riley Winans as A.P. Turner..Riley is an avid historical reenactor, volunteering for museums in the area including Crowley Nature Center. This is Riley's fourth season of Spirit Voices.
    • Crystal Kopp as Mary Gates...Crystal is a longtime volunteer for Manatee Village Historical Park. Last fall, she assisted in the research for our exhibit, "Momento Mori: A Haunting Tale of Victorian Morning Culture", which will be on display again this year. This is her third year acting in Spirit Voices.  
    • Alyson Stewart as Bessie Adams...Alyson is in 8th grade at the Manatee School for the Arts. This is her second season of Spirit Voices.
    • Judi King as Louisa Tresca...Judi has performed in community theater productions with companies like the Sarasota Players and the Island Players. This is her third year appearing in Spirit Voices
    • Mike Herring as Leroy Lesley...Mike is a retired engineer and has acted in plays including The Miracle Worker. This is his third season of Spirit Voices.
    • Roger Krauss as Captain William Bunce...As a Bradenton transplant, Roger loves learning about his new home. This is his third appearance in Spirit Voices.

    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.

    Location Map



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



    Village Hours

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

    9:00am – 4:00pm