Inspired by the vision of Edwin Barlow, a world traveler of the early 1900′s with New Glarus roots, the Wilhelm Tell Play has been presented annually on Labor Day Weekend since 1938. For the first three years, the play was performed in German only. The English production was staged for the first time in 1941.
For the first years of production, the performances were held at Elmer’s Grove, immediately to the east of the village of New Glarus in the area current known as Valle Tell. SInce 1953, performances have been staged at the current site, a wooded valley on Highway W, just to the east of New Glarus. In 1974, after years of renting the performance grounds, from the neighboring Kubly farm, the Wilhelm Tell Community Guild purchased the land.
Some of the actors in our current performance were in the original 1938 production. Much has changed between that day and the current performance. The script has been edited somewhat, and for the first time in 2010 the German performances were not held, though a special presentation of the original German version was held in 2012 in honor of the 75th year of Tell in New Glarus. However, the actor still are, and have always been volunteer performers, bring to their roles a special enthusiasm.
If you are ever in Switzerland, you won’t want to miss the performances held all summer long in Interlaken. You can learn more about the Swiss performances at www.tellspiele.ch .