Early Drama in St. Augustine

Early Drama in St. Augustine

Title

  • Early Drama in St. Augustine

Published Date

  • published 1940

Transcript

Ashton often said that he would write an account of his travels in
Florida but does not seem to have done so. He did write a play on Florida,
however, for he says: "I returned to Charleston after a siege, full of lice,
shame, nakedness, poverty and hungry. I turned player and poet and wrote
a play on the subject of the country."

Although there is no record of the famous Ashton presenting a play
during the siege it is amusing to speculate that the first taste of English
Drama in Florida was given by the irrepressible Ashton before the campfires
of Moore's army.

With the English occupation of Florida the story of the drama
becomes easier to follow. As in the days of Spanish, money for charity
came from theatricals. During the later years of the American Revolution,
St. Augustine was headquarters for the British of the south. An
advertisement in the Newspaper, The East Florida Loyalist, states that "On
Monday evening, March 3, 1783, two plays will be given at the theatre in
the state house for the benefit of the distressed refugees. One, the 'Beaux
Stragtagem,' a comedy, and the other 'Miss in Her Teens,' and
entertainment. The characters are to be taken by 'gentlemen," These
gentlemen were young officers of the British Army who were quartered in
St. Augustine.

During the second Spanish occupation there is little recorded
concerning drama. It is known that the Confradias were again active in
charitable works and aided the hospitals by fiestas, processions, and
probably theatricals.