The Colonial American Stage, 1665-1774: A Documentary Calendar

The Colonial American Stage, 1665-1774: A Documentary Calendar

The Colonial American Stage, 1665-1774: A Documentary Calendar

The Colonial American Stage, 1665-1774: A Documentary Calendar

Synopsis

Drawing upon newspapers, contemporary correspondence and diaries, playbills, and governmental documents, The Colonial American Stage, 1665-1774: A Documentary Calendar presents a day-by-day calendar of every known performance by a professional or amateur company or solo performer and all related information from the beginning of the colonial period to the closing of the theaters at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in October of 1774. Included are complete play and cast lists (where available), actor and civic benefits, building contracts, pricing schedules, advertisements relating to personnel, dates, seasons, premieres of plays, authors, companies, sources, occasional reviews, juridical acts that impacted the theater, maps, an extensive analytical introduction, bibliography, and index. This Calendar gathers together all of the known, existing material relating to the theaters, productions, and personnel of companies and individuals performing in the American colonies, reexamines all previously published primary evidence and claims; and offers extensive new information from sources unknown or unavailable to previous researchers, thus superceding all previous reference works on the subject.

Excerpt

This work is designed to offer a working calendar of colonial American theatrical activity from the beginning of the colonial period to the closing of the theatres at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in October of 1774. the intention is to record every known performance by a professional or amateur company or solo performer and all related information. Thus this project (1) seeks to gather into a single record all the existing material relating to the theatres, productions, and personnel of companies and individuals performing in the American colonies; (2) reexamines all previously published primary evidence and claims; and (3) offers extensive new information from sources unknown or unavailable to previous researchers.

The geographic range of this study is the British American colonies, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Savannah, in the Georgia colony on the continent (see Map 1), and the British West Indies. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the status of the West Indies, and in particular, Jamaica, differed very little from that of the American colonies. the latter was an English outpost, ceded to England in 1670, with transplanted English culture, including a public theatre. By the middle of the eighteenth century Jamaica had a Master of the Revels and an active pool of actors. Theatrical activity was also present on Barbados, the Bahamas, Montserrat, Cuba, and the Dutch West Indies, all extensions of a Caribbean touring circuit (see Map 2). of these colonial outposts, Jamaica was by far the most important, being not only the southernmost terminus of a touring circuit, but also the port to which colonial companies repaired to resupply when their northern markets were saturated, or to retreat to in times of conflict, as during the Seven Years’ War (i.e., French and Indian War) and again immediately prior to the Revolution. Unfortunately, very little information is known concerning theatrical activity in the West Indies, though we have uncovered hitherto unknown significant data for 1770–72.

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