Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

English, MA


Theaters--Kentucky--Louisville; Louisville (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.


A child is considered by some psychologists to pass through on its way to manhood the stages through which the race has passed on its way to civilization. If this is true of a single man, might it not equally be true of a community of men? Have not most settlements, in greater or a less degree, passed through the stages of development common to the growth of all cities until they have reached the standards of their day? A company of civilized men and women going forth to make a settlement in a new place, upon their arrival at their destination, are first of all concerned with the bare necessities of living. They must have food, clothing, and shelter. When these are found and in a measure made certain of, the community is ready for something more. Men are so formed by nature that besides bodily comfort they need mental recreation. In the rather primitive community, which lacks the advantages of books and culture, men are prone to come together and provide amusement for each other. When their own amusement no longer satisfies, they make use of strangers who come into their little world and try to persuade other strangers to come to them. Gradually, then, when more and more outsiders begin to come, the people feel a responsibility for their settlement, and a structure will be built to house these travelers who bring thought and pleasure from the world outside. Such might be considered the development of many cities in America, especially those cities west of the Alleghany mountains. It was "life" for which they were eager "life" from which in a measure these people who came west had voluntarily shut themselves away – yet for which they longer. And in that longing they were no different from every other man who goes to the theatre. "The average spectator – disappointed, for the moment, by his individual experience of living at large – attends the theatre in the hope of quickening his consciousness of life. He wants the play to happen not so much upon the stage as in himself. He goes to the theatre – quite literally – to enjoy himself; that is to say, - his own contributive response of emotion and of thought. The play must happen to him; or else by his judgment the play must be dismissed as a failure. – Life is what the public seeks in going to the theatre; and the appearance, or else the illusion, of life is what it welcomes and rewards in those who exert themselves behind the footlights." (Clayton Hamilton – Seen on the Stage – Pages 7 and 9.)