Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This study focuses upon the management career of Alexandre Placide (c. 1750-1812) in Charleston, South Carolina, between 1794 and 1812. Initially a performer of pantomimes, ballets, and acrobatics, Placide came to America in 1791 after a distinguished career of approximately twenty-one years in Europe and the French colony of Saint-Domingue. For two years, he appeared in the principal theatre centers of this country, and in 1794, he arrived in Charleston to manage John Sollee's French Theatre, the most important French-speaking playhouse of early America, except for New Orleans. He eventually became the leading theatre figure in Charleston, and by 1802, the primary theatre manager of the city. Until his death in 1812, he was the most successful and productive manager in Charleston's history, bringing maturity and stability to the city's stage. By the end of his tenure as manager, Charleston had emerged as one of four major theatre centers in America. This investigation has two volumes. Volume I is organized into nine chapters: (1) Placide's theatrical career in Europe and French Saint-Domingue; (2) his activities as a performer and manager in America prior to arriving in Charleston (1791-93); (3) his management of the French Theatre in Charleston (1794); (4) Placide's performances with his French troupe at the Charleston Theatre (1794-95); (5) his activities as a performer in Charleston (1795-98); (6) his shared managership with John B. Williamson and Edward Jones (1798-1802); (7) his initial years of managing the Charleston Theatre, with Villiers and John Hodgkinson as acting managers (1802-05); (8) his Charleston Theatre management with William Bates as acting manager (1805-08); (9) Placide's final years of management, with J. William Green and William Twaits as acting managers (1808-12). Volume I also has a list of Placide's known roles and performances in America. Volume II is a day book which records the daily theatre bills and cast lists during Placide's years of management. This represents the first attempt to catalog the day-by-day theatre presentations in Charleston for the French Theatre in 1794 and for the Charleston Theatre between 1799 and 1812.