Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Devils Lake, North Dakota was an active and progressive city between 1899 and 1910* In the search for a more cultured lifestyle, the pioneers took great pains to bring theatrical troupes to their city. Thus, Devils Lake had a substantial amount of theatre activity in those years.

This thesis is a study of the theatre activity in Devils Lake between 1899 and 1910. Included in the study are the names and types of travelling troupes that were engaged in the city during that period, and the types of entertainment the troupes performed* The lake and the railroads were prime factors in determining the growth rate of the city, in 1893 Devils Lake was chosen as the permanent location for the Chautauqua assemblies of the upper Midwest, and the site became the polestar for much of the theatre activity in the area during those years.

Quality and quantity of theatrical entertainment vu- dictated by both city environment and raetropoli-tv, theatre trends, thus this study also encompasses orae at the historical milieu and national trends of which the travelling troupes were a part. Many of the problems that confronted theatre companies and the cities which booked them are dealt with in this paper, as are the solutions or responses to those situations. Theatre entertainment between 189? and 1910 was influenced by audience demands for spectacle and realism. Vaudeville and melodrama therefore played a large part in the entertainment of that period, and eventually many of the stage forms succumbed to the screen or cinema.

Theatre facilities, both at the Chautauqua grounds and in the city, are also discussed. The stage facilities 1ended themselves to or imposed limitations upon the performances, depending upon their adequacy or lack thereof. A table consisting of the names of the travelling troupes, the names of the plays performed, the playwrights, and the dates the performances were given is also included in this study.