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Jeanne D' Arc Performance
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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As leisure time increased and transportation improved in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, civic, benevolent, religious and artistic associations became popular. The Harrow Theatre in Deerfield, Massachusetts described itself as "a voluntary association of experienced amateurs for the study and production of the serious literary drama." The scene above from the play Jeanne D'Arc at Vaucouleurs was photographed at the Harrow Theatre in August 1909. The play was written and directed by William Hutchins who eventually went on to teach drama at Yale University, but who was at this time a teacher at Deerfield Academy and a painter active in the Deerfield Society of Arts and Crafts. The Harrow Theatre was at the rear of Miss Margaret Whiting's house on the Main Street of Old Deerfield. The cast included members of many of Deerfield's prominent families-- Fuller, Allen, Hawks, Brown and Ball families. Joan of Arc was a popular subject in theatre, painting, and music throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as well as into the 20th century. Her importance as an icon shifted from generation to generation, reflecting political and social movements. During the second half of the 19th century, there was a shift from a political interpretation of Joan of Arc to a spiritual one that exploited the "entrancement" associated with her visions. This reflected the growing interest in Spiritualism in New England at the time in such places a Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts (near Deerfield). The Suffrage Movement of the day and the strong leadership by women in Deerfield's Arts and Crafts movement would have likely influenced Will Hutchins' dramatic treatment of Joan of Arc.
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