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The Theater Draws Immigrants and Tourists to Chinatown (with text supports)

During the 1870s and 1880s, San Francisco's Chinatown included as many as four theater companies that regularly performed Chinese operas and other entertainment. Tickets to evening performances usually cost 20-25 cents for Chinese (50 cents for non-Chinese); shows sometimes lasted until four the next morning. The actors were usually all men, but the audience included different classes of Chinese men, women, and even children, along with non-Chinese visitors. The theater connected Chinese immigrants to cultural and historical traditions from home, as well as giving them a chance to relax and socialize with other immigrants. Non-Chinese visitors, however, mostly commented on the strange, loud music and impossible to understand plot.


Source | Yong Chen, Chinese San Francisco, 1850-1943: A Trans-Pacific Community (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 90-91; Pacific Bank Handbook of California: San Francisco, California, (San Francisco: Pacific Bank, 1888), 90; Mary H. Wills, A Winter in California (Norristown, PA: Morgan R. Wills, 1889), 111-113.
Creator | Yong Chen; Pacific Bank; Mary H. Wills
Item Type | Book (excerpt)
Cite This document | Yong Chen; Pacific Bank; Mary H. Wills, “The Theater Draws Immigrants and Tourists to Chinatown (with text supports),” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed August 25, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1935.

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