On April 9, 1886 New York actress Anna Boyle began a four night run of melodramas at the Lobero Theatre.

The Madison Square Theatre company consisted of 12 actors, and came to Santa Barbara to perform four performances on April 9, 10, 12 & 13.

Melodramas were very popular theatrical format in the late 1800’s, characterized by a sensational plot designed to appeal strongly to the emotions–which take precedence over detailed characterization.

Featuring stock characters such as the noble hero, the long-suffering heroine, and the cold-blooded villain, the melodrama focuses not on character development but on sensational incidents and spectacular staging.

Characters are often simply-drawn and may appear stereotyped. The themes are typically focused on morality and family issues including love and marriage, often with challenges from an outside source such as a temptress, a scoundrel, or an aristocratic villain.

Miss Anna Boyle appeared in all four of the shows during their Lobero run, with works entitled, “The Lancashire Lass,” “The Wife’s Temptation,” and “The Unknown.”

Tickets ranged from 50-75 cents for reserved seating.

While we wait in the wings for things to return to normal, we hope you enjoy a semi-regular peek into the Lobero archives.

We hope you’re staying safe and enjoying the arts from the comfort of your own home. Go ahead and read more stories below.