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History of Theater in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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By the 1890s theater was so popular and taken so seriously that the Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, and Salt Lake Herald all had a special theater page devoted to coverage of the professional theaters in Salt Lake. But Salt Lake City still had no permanent dramatic company.

A major force in the development of drama in Utah arrived in 1892--Maud May Babcock. Babcock was hired as an instructor in elocution and physical culture at the University of Utah and quickly set about putting together a sustained program in dramatics. Besides her work at the university, she also had students at Brigham Young Academy and at Salt Lake public schools. Under her direction, the newly formed University Dramatic Club put on its first play in December 1897. With no theater at the university, the club used LDS ward halls and later the Salt Lake Theater for its annual performances. It also began to present performances throughout the state and in parts of Idaho.

The training received in the University Club went home with some of its students to the smaller communities of Utah. Other club alumni went back to perform with the University Club players, while still others went on to professional companies. Blanche Kendall Thomas, for example, became a New York actress, performing in Ben Hur.

Dramatic activity at the university heightened. The French and German classes began to produce plays in the original languages. The Order of the Gleam, a women's literary organization, and the Scribblers' Club, a men's literary club, sponsored contests for original plays, which were later staged. The freshman class began to stage an annual production, and the Music Department began presenting operas at the Salt Lake Theater.


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