By Arthur Inkersley.
At the present day the population of Chinatown, San Francisco, is estimated at 40,000, whose amusement is catered to by two theatres, the Tan Kwai Yuen on Washington Street, and the Po Ring on Jackson Street. As long as Chinamen were freely admitted to the United States, the Chinese theaters did an excellent business, but since the passing of the Exclusion Act, their revenues have been much diminished.
An annual festival is held in these theatres in commemoration of Tin, Tau, and Chung, the founders of the Chinese drama. The two first were joint authors of dramas, and the last devised the musical and acrobatic details which form so important a part of Chinese plays. The festival lasts three days, during which special performances are given, each founder getting one-third of each day devoted to his honor. In the early days of the Chinese drama the players were amateurs, the sons of nobles, and were called mandarin actors. There was no professional class of actors regularly trained for the stage.