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Muriel Simonson: The life of a student at Jackson College 1924-1929


Muriel Simonson's true passion was drama and song. She performed in at least 7 major productions while at Jackson College and was either the publicity manager, business manager, or assistant director in at least one play each. Moreover, she was the first undergraduate theater director at Tufts, male or female, when she directed War Brides, a play commemorating the 10th anniversary of Armistice in 1928. Keep in mind that Tufts only began to offer a play production course in the spring of 1929 teaching "fundamental principles of directing, lighting, acting and costuming" and the "study of the fundamentals of design, rhythm, balance, harmony and the art of color." (Tufts Weekly, 01-16-29)

Photos of Muriel in various theater productions. Click on an image to learn more about it.

Contemporary reviews of her acting and singing were outstanding and some of the best were written by John A. Holmes. Reviewing Muriel as Queen Elizabeth in Clemence Dane's Will Shakespeare, John described how her "hands, and every movement on the throne, as she delivered the long speeches in blank verse, were not of herself, but Elizabeth. With tones, pause, gesture, and her whole being she gave herself to the part in such a way that she swept the audience into the feelings that were breaking her own heart." (Tufts Weekly, 05-08-29, p. 3).

In addition, Muriel created and performed at many less formal occasions, e.g., in sketches for Junior Day 1928 and for dances and dinners throughout the years.

Photos of Muriel in various theater productions. Click on an image to learn more about it.

In October 1930 Muriel returned to Tufts to join with other alumni in the Tufts College Dramatic Club's production of Frederick Lonsdale's comedy "The High Road" along with several other alumni.

Theatre memberships

  • Chairman of Class Dramatics (3rd, 4th)
  • president of The Masque Society (President, 3rd year)
  • Dramatics (all four years)
  • Glee Club (2nd, 3rd, 4th year)
  • Operetta (3rd, 4th year, performing as soloist)
  • The Masque Society (which produced annual productions)
  • Dramatics Alumni Association
  • Graduate Dramatic Society.
Scene from 'Othello,' April 1928