Clarksdale is the childhood home of one of America’s most performed playwrights, Tom “Tennessee” Williams.
Young Tom’s grandfather Rev. Walter E. Dakin served as rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church from 1917-1932. Williams lived with his grandparents in Clarksdale for several years, and then visited regularly as he grew up. The church is still active today, and the former rectory is now the church office and home of the Tennessee Williams Rectory Museum.
If you visit in the fall, please join us for the 3-day Mississippi DeltaTennessee Williams Festival, held each October since 1992, which includes a kickoff party at the Cutrer Mansion; site-specific performances by local and visiting actors; talks by noted Williams scholars; Clarksdale and Delta history; student monologue and scene competition; and Porch Plays: works by Williams performed on porches in Clarksdale’s historic district. For the next festival dates & schedule please visit www.DeltaWilliamsFestival.com.
Williams’ plays and films set in or influenced by the Mississippi Delta include: SPRING STORM, BATTLE OF ANGELS, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, SUMMER AND SMOKE, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, 27 WAGONS FULL OF COTTON, THIS PROPERTY IS CONDEMNED, ORPHEUS DESCENDING, THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE, BABY DOLL, KINGDOM OF EARTH and THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND as well as many other short plays, stories and poems.
Williams drew on his Clarksdale neighbors for famous character names such as Blanche, Stella, Brick, Baby Doll, Cutrer, and Wingfield. Their stories are told in the new Tennessee Williams Rectory Museum. The museum is currently open by appointment and during festivals. (Call 646 465 1578) or email RectoryMuseum@gmail.com to schedule, please allow at least 24 hours.)
Tennessee Williams’ plays have won two Pulitzer prizes. More of his plays have been made into Hollywood movies than any other playwright except Shakespeare. THE GLASS MENAGERIE, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, and CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF are consistently named on lists of the greatest plays of all time.