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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Many events of the gold rush have been adequately narrated in numerous books and articles. The succeeding pages in this thesis will recall, historically by topic, important incidents of one phase of that period never before treated as a separate study that phase is the theatre of the Mother Lode region.

The argonauts of the Mother Lode wanted to be entertained and could pay for it. Many preferred the saloon and gamboling hall, but the theatre did not languish because of this, and in fact, developed in some instances directly out of the saloons and fandango halls.

It was the purpose of this study (1) to present the history of the theatre of the Mother Lode during that portion of the gold rush period of the decade 1851-1861; (2) to show who some of the notable thespians were; (3) to describe the modes of transportation used; (4) to give historical accounts of the buildings used for, or built for, theatres; (5) to review some of the plays and performances offered; and (6) to show the influence of the audiences' reactions to the bill of theatrical fare.