The book cover of Captive Audiences / Captive Performers.

This is the site for Sears Eldredge’s groundbreaking investigation of the musical and theatrical performances that occurred in Japanese prisoner of war camps in Southeast Asia during World War II, and the critical role they played in the survival of Allied POWs.

The book tells the story of how music and theatre helped the 61,000 POWs who were sent to these camps survive their ordeal. It is a story that is not well-known to history and it is now being recovered. It is a story about how music and theatre and the other arts are absolutely essential to a society's life.

Taking advantage of the digital platform, the book incorporates the following interactive multimedia links into the text: image galleries where visual images not in the text may be found, audio excerpts from interviews with former POWs and/or realizations of original music written by the POWs, and video clips that investigate artifacts more closely (see “A Note Regarding Reading and Listening” below).

An archive of Sears Eldredge's research materials and other resources related to this book will be established at the Macalester College Archives.

ISBN-10: 0615574459
ISBN-13: 978-0-615-57445-5

Sears A. Eldredge is Professor Emeritus, Theater and Dance Department, Macalester College. Copyright is owned by author of this document. Copyright 2014 Sears A. Eldredge.

Shannon M. Pennefeather edited the book. Johan Oberg coordinated preparation of interview, audio, and video materials. Jacki Betsworth coordinated preparation of text and images for online publication.

The cover illustration is a detail from Jack Chalker's watercolor of the Chungkai Theatre in 1944. Courtesy of Jack Chalker.

While every effort has been made to contact copyright owners for the material used in this book, the author will be glad to rectify any errors or omissions brought to his attention. Please contact the Macalester College Library with any questions or concerns: email:, or telephone 651-696-6346.

A Note Regarding Reading and Listening

Clicking on an audio-link in the chapter opens a window that contains an audio player. If you have trouble returning to the main text, you could try the following: Place the Audio Clips page (with the list of audio clips) next to the text on the right (actually behind the text). Then, when you come to a blue audio clip button in the text, instead of clicking on it, you should click on the corresponding audio clip number on the Audio Clip page. This should get the audio clip to play beside the text. When the clip is finished, click on your browser's back button to get the audio clip to return to the Listing.




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