Summer Historic Theatre in Arroyo Grande to present ‘Dune Child’

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Jan Scott, the show’s playwright and actor.

Play is the autobiographical tale of a child living in the Oceano Dunes artist colony

—South County Historical Society opens its 8th season of Summer Historic Theatre with a Readers Theatre production of Dune Child- My Story Begins, the autobiographical tale of the only child to live with the Dunites in an artists colony in the Oceano Dunes during the 1930s. Performances of the one-hour show begin Saturday, June 16th at 2 p.m. and run every Saturday through July 21. All performances at the Odd Fellows Hall, 128 Bridge Street, Arroyo Grande). Limited seating. Come early for good seating. For more information, call (805)489-8282. Tickets are available at

Watch a special performance of Dune Child – My Story Begins, adapted from part of the book by the same name, written by Ella Thorpe Ellis, the only child to live permanently with the Dunites in the 1930’s.

Dune Child is the closing show of South County Historical Society’s 7th season of Summer Historic Theatre, a series of readers theatre programs based on local history. After the performance, Jan Scott, the show’s playwright and actor, will discuss the show, the story, and the history of the Dunites, and will answer your questions.

Ella Thorpe Ellis became a writer of Young Adult books and taught writing at a college level. She contracted polio at 18 months.  It was the height of the Great Depression and her father, a press agent for Joan Crawford, moved his family to the Central Coast because he had heard about a Dr. Gerber in Oceano who had enjoyed great success in getting polio victims walking again.

Ella’s family moved into the Dunes, joining the colony known as The Dunites. For most of her young life, she was the only child who lived in the artistic dune communal colony led by Gavin Arthur, grandson of President Chester A. Arthur.  She met and knew John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, and photographer Edward Weston.

Jan Scott is the curator at South County Historical Society and is the producer of its summer theatre program. Her degree is as in education. She has taught drama and technical theatre in New York and the Chicago area. Jan would love to talk to those who love history, who love theatre, and/or those who are interested in the process of transforming written material into the dramatic material.

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