David Birge

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




In 1936 a new genre of theater, symphonic drama, was established with the opening of Paul Green’s The Lost Colony. Green was able to create his genre by combining certain elements of the place from historical eras and placing them in a contemporary setting. Like the religious plays of the Middle Ages and the passion plays of then and now, the local community was to be involved in almost every level of production; like the pageant or the masque, singing, dancing, and scenic spectacle were to be integral to its production; like the Greek theater the play was to be produced outdoors on a specifically designed stage; and like many Greek dramas, The Lost Colony was to be based on local history and to stress pride in the community. Since 1936 dozens of other outdoor dramas by Paul Green and others have appeared in many places in America and, like The Lost Colony, they annually draw capacity crowds.


The University of Nebraska at Omaha A Graduate Project Submitted to the Faculty of the Dramatic Arts Department in Partial Fulfillment of the Master of Arts Degree. Copyright 1977 David Birge.