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Buttonwillow Civil War Theater sheds new light on events, people from Civil War

buttonwood civil war theatre steve gipson
Civil War historian, Steve Gipson

PIGEON FORGE, TN – Buttonwillow Civil War Theater's new 540 seat theater, located at 2135 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has opened its doors. The Theater brings entertainment, enrichment and a vital dose of our shared American History. Its play, “Granddaddy's Watch” is now entering its 29th year of production. Having been a touring show, later a dinner theater, the new location in Pigeon Forge is home-sweet-home; It is a life-long labor of love for founder/playwright, actor and Civil War historian, Steve Gipson.

“I've been working on this play since I was a kid. While the other kids were outside, playing, I was doing research on the Civil War... and I have never stopped. I discovered that many of the truths about this war weren't taught to us in school, so I felt compelled to shed some needed light on this pivotal time in American history,” Gipson explains. “Every American needs to understand the details of the Civil War, it's impact and legacy. They need to know all of the details. We attempt to begin that process with our production of Granddaddy's Watch. Everything contained in the play was ferreted out of the National Archives, all first hand accounts of letters, diaries and military reports.”

The play, “Granddaddy's Watch” depicts an East Tennessee Union Colonel and the emotional encounter with his Rebel-sympathizing sister. They question each other's loyalty; they proceed to go round for round debating the details of The Civil War from their perspectives, always conscious of each other's deep convictions. The dialogue provides the tool for the revelation of little-known and mostly forgotten facts about the war. It debunks many previously held “truths” that were meant to sanitize and marginalize this critical juncture in our nation's history.

“The facts and details of the Civil War have been suppressed, altered and stripped away from us and without a true and detailed understanding of what the war was truly about. It's our collective, diverse history and we should not be ashamed or afraid of it.” Gipson said. “In our play, we put back in everything they tried to take out and it is up to us to preserve this information. We do that with this effort, entertainingly and with dignity and reverence.”

Every American needs to see this play. Historians and teachers alike have given the show rave reviews. It is perfect for schools, church groups, and civic organizations who desire to know more about the Civil War. It is family friendly, conservative and reflects Christian values. It is American History presented with Southern grace and humor. “Granddaddy's Watch” was voted the Best Civil War Drama in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

For more information please visit our website,

Published December 14, 2019

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