Promenade Performances

Saturday & Sunday, April 10 & 11
Tickets: $30

Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Promenade Performances guided tour gives voice to the past from porches, patios, and porticos! After months without a spotlight, we’re providing a “stage” for local artists to interpret our city’s built history through their creative lens—connecting the past to the present through six unique outdoor performances.

This curated walking tour features acts from Tony Rivenbark, Wills Maxwell, Southeastern Woodland Native People, and Turning Pointe Dance Company. For two days only, old homes will come alive again as actors, musicians, dancers, and more celebrate and challenge Wilmington’s rich history!

To ensure social distancing, small groups of 14 or fewer will depart from HWF’s headquarters (211 Orange Street) every 15 minutes, starting at 1:00pm, with the final tour leaving at 4:15pm each day. Each tour is approximately 1.5 hours and 1 mile in length. Masks are required.

Preferred tour times are by reservation only. Limited availability—don’t wait to book your spot!

Proceeds support Historic Wilmington Foundation and its mission to preserve and protect the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.

Group reservations available now!

Schedule a private tour today.

A great way to get out of the house with your closest crew!

For $400, you and a group of up to 14 family and friends can enjoy Promenade Performances
together at a time of your choosing. (Ordinarily, 14 tickets would cost $420!) 

Call 910.762.2511 or click here to email Blair Middleton, Office Manager,
for available tour times and to reserve your private Promenade Performance tour.

Performances & “Stages”

1. St. John’s Lodge (Children’s Museum courtyard), 116 Orange Street
Tony Rivenbark, actor

Tony Rivenbark, Executive Director of Thalian Hall (and winner of the 2019 StarNews Lifetime Achievement Award!), will perform a theatrical reading of artist Claude Howell’s journals. Howell, a native of Wilmington, began drawing his hometown’s exquisite houses as a child, and he continued to find a lifetime’s worth of artistic inspiration in the coastal scenery and activity of the Cape Fear region, creating vibrant portraits of life along the coast. He began the art department at Wilmington College (now UNC-Wilmington), where he taught from 1960-1981. Known to be quite the local character—openly gay in a time where LGBTQ individuals faced harsh social backlash, Howell could oft be seen standing stark naked on his sixth-floor balcony at Carolina Apartments!

2. Governor Dudley Mansion, 400 South Front Street
Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts’ Turning Pointe Dance Company, dancers

As a port city tucked between the Atlantic and the Cape Fear River, Wilmington’s history (and architecture!) has always been shaped by water. In the backyard of the Governor Dudley Mansion, with full view of the grand Cape Fear River, the Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts’ Turning Pointe Dance Company will perform a section (“Firedance”) from “Windswept,” a contemporary dance work choreographed by Lesa Rogers Broadhead. Propelled by the music of David Lanz’s Skyline Firedance, the dancers celebrate the beauty and power of water, wind, and nature!

3. William B. Meares House, 416 South Front Street
Wills Maxwell, stand-up & improv comedian

Built as a family residence in 1826, this Greek Revival home was occupied in 1865 by Union troops, who used it as a hospital for Black soldiers. Now, comedian Wills Maxwell will use the house’s garden as a stage to comment on Wilmington’s history and present day. Wills won Port City’s Top Comic in 2019 and was a regional finalist in StandUp NBC 2018. He can be seen every Thursday morning on WWAY News with his comedy news segment “What Did We Miss?” Wills has performed at the Cola Comedy Convention, the North Carolina Comedy Festival, the Oak City Comedy Festival, and the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  Wills hosted Wilmington’s late-night talk show “Late Fear with Wills Maxwell” for three years. He has also opened for several comedians including Tim Meadows and Jim Gaffigan.

4. Davis-Warshauer House, 209 South 2nd Street
Brian Whitted, musician

From the front porch of the Davis-Warshauer House (c. 1923), Fayetteville native and Broadway veteran Brian Whitted will play some tunes from the 1920s that would have been all the rage when this exquisite home was built! Brian has worked with the likes of Roberta Flack, BeBe Winans, Phylicia Rashad, and Brian McKnight, and has been Bette Midler’s pianist, arranger, and background singer. You may have seen Brian at Opera House Theatre Company’s production of Piano Man at the Thalian Hall portico (where Shauntè Jordan will perform!).

5. deRosset House, 23 South 2nd Street
Southeastern Woodland Native People, storytellers, musicians, and dancers

Adorned in traditional regalia and propelled by the beat of a drum, the Little Turtle family will perform stories, songs, and dances of the Southeastern Woodland Native People—all from the gardens of the deRosset House (now the City Club of Wilmington!).

6. Thalian Hall (portico by Innis Park), 310 Chestnut Street
Shauntè Jordan, opera singer | Daniel Rottenberg, ragtime pianist

Wilmington native Caterina Jarboro is famous for her role in Verdi’s Aida, where she was the first female Black opera singer to perform a leading role with an otherwise all-white company in America. After that performance, Caterina’s singing career brought her to Europe, where she was not allowed to sing Puccini’s Italian arias, despite their popularity at the time (1930s). Shauntè Jordan (accompanied by Daniel Rottenberg on keyboard) will reclaim that artistic space, singing Quando M’en Vo from Puccini’s La Bohéme opera.

Ticket Bonus

– 20% off one item at Legacy Architectural Salvage
– one small scoop (cup or cone!) from Boombalatti’s

Coupon will expire on Friday, April 30, 2021. 

Volunteers, we need you!

Volunteers are the key to any event’s success, and Promenade Performances is no exception! We’re putting out the call for those interested in assisting as tour guides or check-in assistants.

For the protection of our volunteers, masks will be required at all times and social distancing will be enforced. All volunteer roles will be outdoor.

If interested, reach out to Isabelle Shepherd, Outreach & Development Coordinator:

Thank you to our valued sponsors!

Our sponsors allow us to carry out a vital mission that began in 1966 and is still going strong. We are grateful to each and every one! 

To sponsor HWF’s Promenade Performances, contact Isabelle Shepherd, Outreach & Development Coordinator: shepherd@historicwilmington.orgSponsors will be finalized on Wednesday, March 31 at noon.

For more information on HWF’s sponsorship opportunities, click here

Corinthian Sponsors

Doric Sponsors

Promenade Performances House Sponsors


Do I need to wear a mask?

Face coverings and social distancing are required for all participants during the entire event—even if you have received one or both vaccinations. 

Where does the tour begin and end?

The tour starts at Historic Wilmington Foundation’s headquarters (211 Orange Street) and ends at Innes Park/Thalian Hall (102 North 3rd Street).  

When should I arrive for my tour?

To provide time for tour check-in, please arrive at HWF’s headquarters (211 Orange Street) 10-15 minutes prior to your tour’s start time.

Do I need to bring a receipt or ticket with me?

Conveniently, there’s no need to bring a ticket, receipt, or email confirmation with you! When you purchase your Promenade Performances ticket(s), your name will be recorded, and our friendly volunteers will check you in upon arrival. (Please arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled tour time.)

Where do I park?

There is no designated parking for Promenade Performances, but public parking is readily available in the downtown parking decks.

Is there a rain date?

As a reminder, there is no rain date for this event. The weather forecast looks great for Saturday and Sunday (April 10 & 11, 2021), and if we do experience any stray showers, our performers are prepared. (As they say, the show must go on!)

May I go into the homes of featured porches?

For the health and safety of our tour attendees, guides, and performers, you may not enter any of the homes during the tour.

Will there be a place for me to sit down?

Yes, there will be chairs at four of the six venues where guests may sit during the performances.

Can I bring my dog on the tour?

For the safety and comfort of attendees and performers, no pets are allowed during the event.