On Friday, September 30, at 7 PM, Proctor Academy will host an event to celebrate 19th-century magician and ventriloquist Richard Potter. The evening will be co-sponsored by the Andover Historical Society (AHS) and Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH). Ventriloquist Dan Ritchard will perform a live ventriloquism show, and author John Hodgson will speak about Potter’s impact on American theater.
On August 7, Andover officially joined the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, with the unveiling of a new historic marker honoring the life of Richard Potter. The BHTNH marker sits on the site of Potter’s historic homestead. Visitors on the Northern Rail Trail can view the marker when they pass through Potter Place.
The September 30 event will be the follow-up to the unveiling ceremony. Audience members will experience the wonders of ventriloquism first-hand. They will also learn more about Potter’s life and impact on the course of American entertainment.
The event begins at 7 PM in the Norris Family Theatre at Proctor Academy and is free and open to the public. People are encouraged to reserve a ticket ahead of time, as there will be limited seating. To reserve seats, visit TicketSource.us/Proctor-Theater/t-ojlnopm. For more information on the September 30 event, contact Starr Fair at FairSt@nullProctorAcademy.org.
Dan Ritchard is an award-winning magician, ventriloquist, and puppeteer. He also wrote Ventriloquism for the Total Dummy.
John Hodgson published Richard Potter: America’s First Black Celebrity in 2018 after 25 years of research. Hodgson is the former Dean of Forbes College at Princeton University and is now an Andover resident and an active member of the AHS.
The AHS museum and store in Potter Place are open Saturdays from 10 AM to 3 PM and Sundays from 12:30 to 3 PM; the Freight House fundraising sale is open Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. The AHS visiting hours remain in effect from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. For more information, visit AndoverHistory.org.