In 1957, a new amphitheater opened near Lake Matoaka called the Cove Amphitheater. The Cove was built specifically for a new theater presentation called The Founders, a production by Paul Green, which depicted the struggles of the early Jamestown settlers and the lives of John Smith, Pocahontas, and John Rolfe.
The Cove included wooden bench seats and an asphalt stage. Construction began on the new theater in late 1956 and was completed by May 1957. It had capacity seating for 1700 guests. The cost of constructing the Cove was $87,109.91 and was funded by the Jamestown Corporation. After a disastrous 1958 season due to low attendance at both the Lake Matoaka Amphitheater and the Cove, the Jamestown Corporation decided to close down The Founders. When Jamestown Corporation went out of business in 1976, the ownership of both amphitheaters reverted to William & Mary. By the 1980s, the dressing building of the Cove was used by the Dept. of Fine Arts as a sculpture studio (Buildings and Grounds--Lake Matoaka and Matoaka Woods--Amphitheater (Common Glory), University Archives Subject File Collection).
Materials in the Special Collections Research Center
- University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.