Published on August 31, 2018

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Casting Call for Virtual Reality Project on John Brown Trial

Click here to submit audition form. (For principal roles, first review images here.)

Casting Call: Sunday, September 23, 2018, 9am-Noon (Rescheduled from September 15)
Filming: Sunday, September 30, 2018, 11am-6pm
Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum, Winchester

Weather Notice/Casting Call Rescheduled: Because of the threat of serious weather this weekend due to Hurricane Florence, the Casting Call has been postponed to Sunday, September 23 (9am-Noon).  If you have any questions, please email

The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) and Shenandoah University’s Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCIL) are holding a casting call on Sunday, September 23, 2018, from 9am-Noon for a Virtual Reality Film Project on John Brown’s historic trial.  The casting call is for 25 primary roles and up to 150 extras.  The filming will take place on Sunday, September 30, from 11am-6pm in Winchester.

The SVBF and SCIL are building a 360 degree virtual reality experience on the John Brown Trial that will be hosted at the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum on the downtown walking mall in Winchester.   The primary roles for the production include:

  • John Brown
  • Judge Richard Parker
  • David Hunter Strother (journalist)
  • Second unnamed journalist (no image)
  • George Hoyt (defense attorney)
  • Lawson Botts (defense attorney)
  • Jefferson County Sheriff James W. Campbell
  • Thomas Green (defense attorney)
  • Samuel Chilton (defense attorney)
  • Hiram Griswold (defense attorney)
  • Andrew Hunter (prosecution attorney)
  • Charles Harding (prosecution attorney – no image)
  • Robert T. Brown, Clerk of the Court of Jefferson County (no image)
  • John C. Wiltshire, Foreman of the Jury
  • Rabble Rouser
  • 11 additional non-speaking jurors

In addition, up to 150 extras are also needed for the large crowd at the trial.  (See below for additional details.)

Key Dates and Details

Location (Casting Call and Filming):  Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum (former Old Court House Civil War Museum), 20 N. Loudoun St. (on the downtown walking mall), Winchester.

Casting Call:  Sunday, September 23.  9am – Noon.  (Postponed from September 15 due to weather.)  Men and boys only.  The call is for extras/background actors and for additional fill-ins for any speaking roles not already cast. Applicants who have accurate period costume are encouraged to wear it to the casting call.  Applicants will need to be at the museum between 9:00am-Noon to be considered.

Filming: Sunday, September 30.  9:30 am call time.  Filming will begin at 11am and end at approximately 6pm.

To Submit Your Audition Form

Principal Parts:  If you’re interested in one of the principal roles, please review the images of the historical figures here, then click here to fill out the online audition form.

Extras/Background Roles:  Click here to fill out the online audition form.  Printed versions will also be available at the casting call on September 23.

Click here to submit application form.  (For principal roles, first review images here.)

Historic Background for Project

Following John Brown’s failed raid on Harpers Ferry in October 1859, he was brought to trial in Charles Town Virginia (modern-day West Virginia).  The presiding judge was Richard Parker, who also regularly held court at the Frederick County Court House (today’s Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum) in Winchester.  The dramatic trial was that era’s “trial-of-the-century,” followed by a rapt nation that was aflame with sectional tension.  The raid and the dramatic trial were the spark that launched the country on the road to Civil War.

More Information

For more information, email  Please include “John Brown Casting” in the email subject line.