Sandburg Summer Stage

Actors performing Sandburg's works on stage
Vagabond School of the Drama apprentices performing Carl Sandburg's "Rootabaga Express!"

NPS Photo

2022 Season will offer Rootabaga Express! on Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10:15 am.

Celebrate 100 years of Rootabaga this summer! Published in 1922, the "Rootabaga Stories" have entertained readers and audiences of all ages for 100 years. Use the links at the bottom to read a story or watch part of a play.

The Sandburg Summer Stage is a series of free public performances. These 30-minute programs feature the cast and directors from The Vagabond School of the Drama, an apprentice program of the Flat Rock Playhouse. Performances are held rain or shine, at the park amphitheatre near the Front Lake.

Rootabaga Express!
Carl Sandburg created his own version of American fairy tales when he published Rootabaga Stories (1922) and Rootabaga Pigeons (1923). He replaced the European fairy tale cast of princes, princesses, castles and kingdoms with icons American children would recognize -- taxi-drivers, movie actors, skyscrapers, prairies and automobiles. Rootabaga Express! brings the stories of the Five Rusty Rats, Bimbo the Snip and more to life.You'll meet new characters and journey farther into the Village of Liver and Onions and Sandburg's imagination than ever before.The 30-minute shows are appropriate for all ages and held rain or shine.

These shows are supported by the Flat Rock Playhouse and the Park Store, operated by America's National Parks.


Apprentice actors from the Flat Rock Playhouse have performed adaptations of Sandburg's works for park visitors since 1974. Using Sandburg's own words from his collections of children's stories, poetry, collected music, biography of Abraham Lincoln and his own autobiography, the performances provide visitors with a sense of the scope of his work and imagination. Sandburg was an expert storyteller, and easily wove important messages of fairness, empathy and social justice into his writings. Whatever play you are able to attend you will walk away with a smile on your face and a better understanding of the legacy of Carl Sandburg.

Read a Rootabaga Story!

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    Last updated: May 5, 2022

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    81 Carl Sandburg Lane
    Flat Rock , NC 28731


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