For over 50 years, Cherokee players have performed Unto These Hills, the second longest running outdoor drama in the United States. Under the stars on summer nights, the story of the Cherokee in North Carolina unfolds in dazzling sights and sounds.
Music and dance traditions are woven into the play, as are the rich stories of Cherokee legends. The historical production portrays the arrival of Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in 1540, the participation of the Cherokee in the Battle of Horsehoe Bend, and the removal of the Cherokee from their ancestral lands on the Trail of Tears in 1838. Unto These Hills honors some of the most revered Cherokee heroes, including Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee alphabet, Junaluska, the wise leader, and Tsali, the brave warrior who gave his life for his people.
A large cast and technical staff recreate the pageantry of traditional festivals, a Cherokee wedding, and the world-famous Eagle Dance. Unto These Hills is set in the Mountainside Theater, an outdoor theater that seats 2,800.
Unto These Hills was first presented in 1950. The cast of Unto These Hills is drawn from local Cherokee people and students of the drama department at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Each year’s production adds new elements.
The Eternal Flame burns at the entrance to the Mountainside Theater. The Cherokee believe that as long as the fire burns, they will survive as a people. The flame was carried to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears and was brought back to Cherokee from Oklahoma in 1951. The flame still burns.
Hours of Operation
Unto These Hills is performed nightly, except Sundays, from early June through mid-August. Showtime is 8:00 pm. Pre-show performances of music and dance start by 7:30 pm.
Tickets for Unto These Hills can be purchased on-line, by phone, at the Mountainside Theater box office and at the Cherokee Historical Association office at US Highway 441 and Drama Road.
General admission is $18 for adults, $8 for children ages 12 and under. Family Pack: 2 free tickets for children ages 6-12 with purchase of 1 adult ticket. Call for pricing. Reserved seats are $22 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under.
Group rates are available.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
The Mountainside Theater and Cherokee Historical Association office are located on Drama Road, off US 441.