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Theater Managers


The first theater built in America is generally believed to have been constructed in Williamsburg, VA, in 1716. William Levingston, who managed a dance school, erected it. Two of the stars of the dance school were Charles Stagg and his wife Mary. A contract dating back to July 11, 1716 shows Livingston and the Staggs agreed to build a theater in Williamsburg and to provide the actors, scenery, and music from England to enact comedies and tragedies in the city. In November of 1716, Levingston purchased three lots and built a house, kitchen, and stable as well as a bowling alley and a theater.

There are no records of what plays were presented at the theater. However, a number of years later, the property entered foreclosure. By 1735 and 1736, the theater served amateur productions by students of William and Mary College, though reports indicate a company of professional players also acted there.

One of the obstacles to theaters at this time was a lack of support by the wealthy. No records exist of any other performances after 1736. In 1745 the playhouse/ theater was bought by some prominent men of the Virginia Colony and given to Williamsburg as a town hall.

Following this, theaters started popping up around the country, and eventually many became successful. Today, there are theaters in almost every community, big or small, and each needs a theater manager.