June 27, 1961: Honey in the Rock Debuts at Cliffside

Jun 27, 2018

On June 27, 1961, the play Honey in the Rock debuted at the newly constructed Cliffside Amphitheater at Grandview in Raleigh County. The play, written by Kermit Hunter, tells of West Virginia’s founding through the experiences of a fictitious family, with some historical figures like “Stonewall” Jackson and the state’s first governor, Arthur Boreman.

In 1970, the group added the play Hatfields & McCoys to the lineup and in the mid-70s changed its name to Theatre West Virginia.
Credit e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

The play’s alumni include Academy Award nominee Chris Sarandon and actor, director, and playwright David Selby.

Honey in the Rock was produced by the West Virginia Historical Drama Association, with support from the Women’s Club of Beckley. The association included many Beckley leaders—among them former governor Okey Patteson and future governor Hulett Smith. In 1970, the group added the play Hatfields & McCoys to the lineup and in the mid-70s changed its name to Theatre West Virginia, a repertory company that performed each summer at Grandview and toured schools and rural communities of West Virginia and surrounding states in the off season.

Honey in the Rock was performed annually at Grandview until 2013, when Theatre West Virginia was dissolved. Supporters have since revived Theatre West Virginia, which plans a busy season this year.