Recovering the Life and Career of Virginie Gireaudeau, free Black actress from New Orleans

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 -
6:00pm to 7:30pm
Gallier House Shop
1126 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA
About this Event: Virginie Gireaudeau, a free woman of color from New Orleans, was one of the first African American actresses to appear in a major North American theater. Performing at the Théâtre d’Orléans (Orleans Theater) in 1826, she played the female lead in two tragedies, supported by a group of white professional actors and actresses from France. But despite Gireaudeau’s obvious significance for American theater history, her story has not yet found its way into the history books. This talk explores some of the reasons for this omission and reconstructs how Gireaudeau navigated an environment that was stacked against her. About the Speaker: Juliane Braun is Associate Professor of English at Auburn University, where she specializes in multilingual and transnational literatures of the early Americas. Her award-winning book, Creole Drama: Theatre and Society in Antebellum New Orleans, examines the transnational, political, and social reach of French Louisianian theatrical culture. She has also done work on Les Cenelles, the first African American poetry anthology published in the United States. Dr. Braun is currently in town to learn even more about Virginie Gireaudeau, her contemporary and fellow actor Edmond Orso, as well as Adolphe Duhart and the theatrical activities of New Orleans’s Black community during and after the Civil War.

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