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Rural and Folk Theatres

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RURAL AND FOLK THEATRES. *The Little Country Theatres of North Da kota not only illustrates the wide popularity of theatricals to-day, but also points to the deep ening influence of the dramatic arts, almost re ligious in its intensity. The population of North Dakota is mainly foreign and made up of some 25 different nationalities, thinly scat tered. There are 140 towns, each containing less than 500 people; and intellectual compan ionship and culture were not easily obtainable. Exodus to the big cities was the natural con sequence. The solution of the problem of stem ming this tide was found in the amateur com munity theatre for the rural districts. Estab lished with this end in view by Alfred G. Ar void of North Dakota Agricultural College, in 1914 in Fargo, the Little Country Theatre has already succeeded far beyond expectations and spread into every corner of the State. It will serve as a model for many similar experiments already in the bud all over the land. The old dingy chapel on the second floor of the admin istration building of the Agricultural College was refurnished at slight cost into a theatre. Simplicity on every hand was the guiding prin ciple. The young people did most of the writ ing, acting, costuming, scene-painting and scene-shifting for themselves. A moving-pic ture machine was installed. About 2,000 people participated in these home-talent plays; 1,600 pieces of play-matter were loaned in the course of a few months. The audiences were enthusi astic and sometimes aroused into good-humored excitement. North Dakota had solved her ag ricultural and social problem. One of the most considered of all rural theatres is that founded and maintained by Maurice Pottecher, poet, dramatist and actor-manager, among the peo pie of Boman& a mountain district of the Vosges in France. In all times, from the far East to the far West, some form of rustic the atre (mainly itinerant) has existed. For the romantic particulars of the old strolling play: ers, consult Mantzius, K., 'History of Theatri cal Art in An Ages.) For the recent people's theatre revival in Europe, a movement that has shown most energy in Germany and in Russia, consult Pottecher, Maurice, Theatre du peuple de Bussang (Vosges) : son origin, son developpement et son but exposés par son f on dateur) (Paris 1913) ; Rolland, Romain, (Le Theatre du Peuple: Essai d'esthetique d'un theatre nouveau)(Paris 1904) i Kahn, A., (Le

Theatre social en France) (Paris ; Morel, Eugene, 'Projet de theatres populaires) (in Revue d'art Dramatique, Vol XV, pp. 1115 1188, Paris 1900) ; Le Braz, Anatole, (La Resurrection du theatre populaire en Bretagne) (in La Grande Revue, Vol. VII, p. 140, Paris 1898) • Van Dooren, J., 'Le Theatre du peuple) (in the Revue de Belgique, Series 2, VoL XXVII, p. 31, Brussels 1899) ; Sellers, Edith, The People's Theatre in Berlin) (in the Con temporary Review, Vol. LXXVII, p. 870 Lon don 1900); Mehring, F., (Die Freie Vollcs (in the Neue Zeit, Vol. II, p. 530, Stuttgart 1900) ; Prod'homme, J. G., (Le Thea tre populaire en Baviare) (in the Revue des Revues, Series 3, Vol. XXXIII, p. 524, Paris 1900) ; Moderwell, H. K, 'The Theatre of To day' (Boston 1914) ; Calvi, E., (II Teatro popo lare romanesco dal Medio Evo ai tempi nostri' (in the Nuovo Antologia, Series 5, Vol. CXXXIV,p. 689, Rome 1908) ; Long, R. E C., (People's Theatre in Russia) (in the Nine teenth Century and After, Vol. LII, p. 775, London 1902), Bibliography.—Arnold, A. G., 'The Soul and the (in The Search-Light, Fargo, N. D., Jan. 13, 1917) ; Chambers, E. K, 'The Medieval Stage) (2 vols., Oxford 1903); Gregory, Lady, Irish Theatre' (New York 1913) ' • Brander, (Importance of the Folk Theatre) (in of Fiction,' 3d ed., New York 1902) ; Maxwell, Gerald, (Revival of the Folk Drama) (in the Nineteenth Century and After, Vol. LXII, p. 925, Lon don) ; Merington, Marguerite, (Village Play ers: and every community producing its own plays) (in World's Work, Vol. XVII, p. 254, London 1911) ; Ordish, T. F., (Folk Drama) (in Folk Lore, Vol. II, p. 314, and Vol. IV, p. 149 ' London 1891 and 1893) • Ward, A. W., of English Dramatic Literature to the death of Queen Anne) (2d ed., London 1899).