Library web exhibit showcases early UH dramatics

University of Hawaiʻi
James Cartwright, (808) 956-6995
University of Hawaii Library
Posted: Aug 28, 2007

HONOLULU - The University of Hawaiʻi library website has just placed online an exhibit, "Drama at the University of Hawaiʻi: The Early Years." Part of the UH Centennial celebration, it celebrates the strong tradition of drama at the College, and later the University of Hawaiʻi.

Featured are a brief history of early dramatic activities, along with numerous photographs and illustrations drawn from scrapbooks and publications in the Hamilton Library archives and a list of plays presented by students from 1912 through 1941 when student dramatics ceased due to World War II.

Among the items featured are photographs of the first Asian drama, a translation of the Japanese play Chushingura, about the Forty-Seven Ronin, presented in November, 1924, and famed Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans and his working script of Hamlet, used when Capt. Evans was stationed here during WWII with the U.S. Army entertainment unit.

The first student play, The Revolving Wedge, was presented in November, 1912, at Bishop Hall on the Punahou School campus. Although some plays were presented on the steps of Hawaii Hall, most were held in local theatres or other off-campus venues until 1930, when the first auditorium, Farrington Hall, was built on the Mānoa campus. That same year, the first professor of dramatics was hired, although drama courses had been offered since 1920.

The exhibit was coordinated by University Archivist Jim Cartwright with research and technical assistance by students in the archives and library and information services.

The exhibit may be viewed at:

A second installment of the online exhibit will be presented at a later date.

For more information, visit: