Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

Annual Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival week punctuated with musical!

Attendees of the 15th annual Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival, Nov. 8-13, on North Carolina's Outer Banks can take advantage of an added special treat this year.

After the regular programming of birding, paddling, natural history and photography programs end on Sunday, Nov. 13, there is still reason to spend one more night on the Outer Banks.

The hit musical, Always...Patsy Cline, will light up the stage at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Cape Hatteras Secondary School in Buxton. Special invited guests will be the island's volunteer fire chiefs and firemen who went above and beyond all expectations during and after the recent hurricane. This performance is free and open to the public.

The two-act musical stars Laura Martier as the legendary Patsy Cline and Barbara Hird as her friend Louise Seger includes many of the songs that Cline made famous.

Based on a true story, the play explores Cline's pen-pal friendship with Seger who became an immediate fan after hearing the country singer on the Arthur Godfrey Show in 1957. Seger then hounded the local disk jockey to play Cline’s records on the radio. The two later met in Houston and they instantly formed a friendship that lasted until Cline’s death in 1963.

Laura Martier relocated from Wisconsin to North Carolina where she is the reigning jazz vocalist on the Outer Banks. She has released several CDs and toured internationally. Martier also is executive director of Dare County Arts Council whose mission is not only to promote the arts, but also to educate. As an educator, she has served as adjunct professor of voice at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Always seeking to add new experiences and material to her repertoire, Always...Patsy Cline is Martier’s first foray into the world of professional theatre as an actor.

Barbara Hird, a native of Yorkshire, England, studied and performed at the prestigious Bradford Playhouse and Film Theatre. Before coming to the United States, she toured the English Regional Theatre circuit in plays ranging from Shakespeare to modern musicals. In North Carolina, she has worked with numerous theatres including the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Charlotte Rep. and The Lost Colony. Her work in Elizabeth R – performed in London, Edinburgh, Regional England, New York City and more than 30 locations in the mid-Atlantic states - has brought her international acclaim and North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Her new role in Always…Patsy Cline as Louise Seger is sure to be another hit. Hird is also the costume designer for The Diary of Adam and Eve and Always…Patsy Cline.

In September, Martier and Hird debuted in Always...Patsy Cline as the opening performance for the new season of the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts. Both received excellent reviews from audiences.

Written and originally directed by Ted Swindley and produced with permission of Ted Swindley Productions, Inc. and APC, Inc. the production of Always...Patsy Cline is produced by Elizabeth R and Company and directed by lebame houston.

The Buxton performance is sponsored by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and Elizabeth R and Company.

As always, there are many programs offered as part of Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival that focus on birding, paddling, photography, natural history and other wildlife adventures.

Earlier in the week, there is another program that includes spending a little time in a theater. Sit back and relax in the Lost Colony's Waterside Theatre for a tour of the night sky with astronomer Woodrow Grizzle of the Elizabeth City State University ECSU Planetarium as your a guide. Discover the stories in the sky and explore the constellations and bright stars that have fascinated humankind for ages. And it is family-friendly — two children 12 and under may accompany paying adult for no charge.

Portsmouth Island village, established by NC's Colonial Assembly in 1753 and maintained by the National Park Service since 1976, is a step back in time. Although the last resident left in 1971, the village and its remaining buildings, on the National Register of Historic Places, are a living testimonial to a once-thriving and vibrant coastal community.

On Roanoke Island, the site of the first attempt at English colonization of the New World (20 years before Jamestown), visit The Island Farm established in 1783 by Jesse Etheridge, and his grandson built the restored two-story house around 1850 using hewn and pit- sawn timbers and bricks believed to be from ship's ballast. Come stroll the grounds - view grazing sheep and preserved outbuildings and stop at stations that recreate the vibrant life of the 1850's from hearth cooking where you can try your hand at making a cornmeal Johnny cake, to children's toys and games where you can give the games the Etheridge children played a try, like Hunt the Slipper, England and France, plus many others.

Birding trips range from those geared toward beginners to experts who are searching for a life-list species. There are more than 400 species that can be found on the Outer Banks, of which more than a quarter of a million acres is in conservation in Dare County alone!

Paddling is always an adventure on the Outer Banks. It is possible to paddle the region for a lifetime yet still study charts at night, discovering unexplored areas. Registration currently is open for an assortment of water trips escorted by leaders who are familiar with the various areas.

Todd Pusser, award-winning photographer, author and biologist, will be this year's keynote speaker at the annual reception dinner held at North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island on Nov. 12.

Pusser has traveled to more than 30 countries and into every ocean basin on earth. His photographs have appeared in hundreds of publications around the world and have been featured in prominent magazines such as BBC Wildlife, National Wildlife, National Geographic Kids, and Ocean Realm. NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Social 6 p.m., dinner 7 p.m.

This festival is traditionally set during the "shoulder season" when rates are lower for accommodations, traffic is light and the weather is mild. To learn more about the Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival call 252-216-9464 or go to

Wings Over Water is sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, Carolina Bird Club, Roanoke Island Festival Park and the Outer Banks Sentinel.