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StagestruckThe Business of Theater in Eighteenth-Century France and Its Colonies$
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Lauren R. Clay

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450389

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450389.001.0001

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The Production of Theater in the Colonies

The Production of Theater in the Colonies

Chapter:
(p.195) Chapter 7 The Production of Theater in the Colonies
Source:
Stagestruck
Author(s):

Lauren R. Clay

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450389.003.0007

This chapter focuses on the establishment of public playhouses and professional acting troupes beyond the Hexagon, in the colonies of the French Caribbean. It considers how directors, patrons, and colonial administrators self-consciously portrayed the public theaters established in cities in Saint-Domingue beginning in the 1760s as direct participants in the theater culture and practices of metropolitan France. It also examines the operations of colonial theaters within the specificities of the colonial situation, with particular emphasis on the role played by the public theaters of Saint-Domingue in negotiating colonial identities and racial boundaries. Approaching theaters as cultural businesses subject to the commercial pressures of the market, this chapter highlights the issue of race in theatrical production in the French colonies by discussing the unmatched opportunities that the stage afforded free people of color, who participated not only as spectators but also as directors, patrons, and actors in colonial theaters.

Keywords:   public playhouses, French Caribbean, directors, public theaters, Saint-Domingue, colonial theaters, race, theatrical production, people of color

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