Close Menu

Whitworth Theatre Welcomes Live Audiences for Fall Production, “Men On Boats”

October 5, 2021

Whitworth University Theatre is excited to welcome back live audiences to Cowles Auditorium for its fall main-stage production, Men On Boats.

Men On Boats is a playful, contemporary retelling of the first government-sanctioned expedition to the Grand Canyon in 1869. It involves 10 explorers, four boats and one adventurous tale as a one-armed captain and a crew of slightly insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.

The characters in Men On Boats were historically white males. But the cast is made up entirely of people who are not. It includes racially diverse actors who are women, female-identifying, gender-nonconforming, neurodivergent, or people with disabilities. By casting actors who identify differently from the majority of people on the actual expedition, the play resurfaces the voices of those silenced throughout history. With bravery and humor, the crew encounters disasters, conflicts and harrowing adventures on their journey. The play asks: How do we move forward through uncertainty? Who gets to write history, and can we reclaim it?

Kenna McIlraith ’23 plays the captain of the expedition, John Wesley Powell. She says she was seeking something vastly different from the roles she usually tries out for. “I am usually cast as the helpless young girls in shows,” she says, “so being cast as the captain of the expedition has been a challenge that I have greatly enjoyed.” 

The production runs: Oct. 16, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 17 and 24 at 2 p.m. General seating for adults is $15; seniors and students, $12. Tickets can be purchased online. Please note: This play contains adult language and loud sound effects that may not be appropriate for all children. Audience discretion is advised.

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or