Nellie McCaslin, Ph.D., featured the Jack Tale Players in her book A Historical Guide to Children’s Theatre (Greenwood, 1987).  McCaslin evaluated the troupe, saying:

     "An example of an innovative and highly imaginative program is the one developed at Ferrum College in southwest Virginia. Rex Stephenson, chairman of the theatre department, began work with a group of students and a personal interest in the local folklore known as the 'Jack Tales.' These stories from the Blue Ridge Mountains, which had been handed down through an oral tradition, appealed to Stephenson as having dramatic possibilities."

"The stories that came from the mountain people were given back to them in dramatic form. Although the troupe uses other kinds of material, particularly for its adult audiences, the Jack Tales continue to provide rich content for audiences of all ages, and the simply staged short plays have proven a successful format . . . . Teachers' materials and study guides are developed by Stephenson to extend the experience beyond the performance, and an introduction to mountain music using homemade instruments further enhances it. A summer theatre featuring local history, dramatized by Stephenson, offers another dimension to the contribution made by a small college to a community remote from professional stage. Moreover, Ferrum is unique in its use of natural resources—content of plays, format, and, on occasion, the actual spots where historic events took place. The Ferrum program is a prime example of the kind of innovation that was taking place during the late seventies and early eighties."

Jack Tale Players Benefit Performance

Benefit for the Franklin County Humane Society,
Honoring Dr. Nellie McCaslin

March 1, 2006

Sale Theatre, Ferrum College 

Press release        Iron Blade article

Pictures from performance



Rex Stephenson's retelling of "Jack and the Hainted House" appears  in Nellie McCaslin’s Creative Drama in the Classroom and Beyond (editions  4–8). 8th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2005.

Nellie McCaslin (1914-2005) in one of her summer performances with the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre: Life on the Mississippi, July 2001

For More Background See:

History of the Jack Tale Players

Ferrum Performers Keep Jack Tales Alive
Article by Lana A. Whited and Tina L. Hanlon 

The Script as Story Theatre 

Study Guides and Activities for Jack Tales

Bibliography of Works by and about R. Rex Stephenson

Background on Drawing of Jack by Berkeley Williams, Jr.

Annotated Bibliography of Appalachian Folktales in Children's Literature
by Tina L. Hanlon

30th Anniversary of Jack Tales Celebrated Dec. 12 (press release 2005)

Jack Tales (entry by Tina L. Hanlon in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, 2006)

Jack Tales Home

The drawing by Berkeley Williams, Jr. is
the property of the Jack Tale Players of Ferrum College
all rights reserved