Camarillo, Calif., Oct. 10, 2012 – The ill-fated journey of the Donner Party will play out on the stage in six memorable performances at CSU Channel Islands (CI), Oct. 24 – 27 and Nov. 1 – 2 at 8 p.m. at Malibu Hall on the CI campus.  “The Donner Party Cycle: End of the Trail,” is the second installment of an original two-part play written and directed by Associate Professor of English Bob Mayberry and performed by students and alumni of CI’s Performing Arts Program.

The play follows the settlers of the notorious Donner Party wagon train on their journey from Missouri to California along the California Trail in 1846.  It highlights the series of bad decisions that led them to become snowbound in the Sierra Nevada, where half the party ultimately died of cold and starvation. “End of the Trail” picks up as the settlers reach the end of a river in the Nevada desert, and unwisely push onward into the Sierras and into a desperate fight for their lives. The play ends with the dramatic courtroom trial of a German immigrant and Donner Party survivor accused of cannibalism.

The performances also conclude a 26-year journey for Mayberry, who began writing the plays on and off in 1985 and completed them during a recent sabbatical. A native of Nevada who often visited Donner Lake with his family, Mayberry grew up fascinated by tales of the doomed wagon party. As he delved into research and historic accounts, he saw the stage as the perfect venue for the dramatic tale of tragedy and survival. 

“History is always more interesting when we can locate it in individuals going through it,” Mayberry said. “I think people will be surprised that the story of the Donners is far more interesting and complicated than anybody expects or than any of our state history textbooks represent.”

Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for CI faculty and staff, and free for CI students. To purchase tickets, call Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006. 

Limited complimentary parking is available on campus in designated spaces only.  Upon arriving at the campus, please follow event parking signs.  Free parking is available at the Camarillo Metrolink Station/Lewis Road parking lot in Camarillo with bus service to and from the campus. Riders should board the VISTA Bus to the campus; the fare is $1.25 each way.  Buses arrive and depart from the Camarillo Metrolink Station every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.  For exact times, check the schedule at

For more information, contact Dr. Bob Mayberry, Associate Professor of English, at 805-437-2786 or

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands 
(CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CI's Social Media.