Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study investigates the theatrical activity in New Orleans between 1860 and 1865 and provides a daybook including all recorded performances in the city during this period. Many active theatres existed in New Orleans prior to 1860. Three theatres, the St. Charles, the Varieties, and the Academy of Music dominated professional English-language dramatic offerings. They brought in the most renowned performers of the period and presented lavish dramatic productions, minstrel shows, circuses and concerts. This study explores the impact of the war on the theatrical activity of these three theatres and attempts to chronicle the adjustments necessary to continue operation. The investigation also attempts to answer specific questions about the kinds of entertainment offered in these three theatres, the changes in company personnel and management and the impact of the war on touring companies and stars visiting the city. In addition, the study explores the changes in theatrical activity brought about by the Federal occupation of New Orleans in April, 1862. The material is divided into two major sections. Part I provides a history of the New Orleans stage and is organized into five chapters: (1) A Historical Background of New Orleans through 1865: A Foundation for Theatrical Development; (2) Theatrical Activity in New Orleans Preceding the Civil War; (3) Theatrical Activity in New Orleans 1860-1862: The Beginning of the Civil War and the Crescent City Under Siege; (4) Theatrical Activity in New Orleans 1862-1865: Occupation and Recovery; (5) Survival and Transition. Part II is a daybook consisting of the title of every recorded production in New Orleans between the fall of 1860 and the spring of 1865, the names of playwrights and lists of casts for the period. This daybook also contains a Performer Index, listing in alphabetical order each performance and the dates of his recorded performances in New Orleans, a Play Index listing the performance dates for each play presented in New Orleans, and a Playwright Index listing every known author of plays and the titles of his plays produced in New Orleans.
Thompson, Paula June, "A History and Daybook of the English Language Theatre in New Orleans During the Civil War. (Volumes I and II)." (1988). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 4685.