The JAMES ADAMS FLOATING THEATRE plied the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries from 1914 to 1941, bringing theatre to ports of call in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.

As a part of the American repertory theatre movement of the early 20th century, the Floating Theatre was an important cultural resource for people in metropolitan, rural areas and small coastal towns.

It was the only showboat Edna Ferber visited to research for her novel, Show Boat, which inspired the Oscar Hammerstein II/Jerome Kern smash Broadway hit of the same name, opening at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 27, 1927 and running for 572 performances, changing American Theatre forever. It also went on to inspire several film versions including the 1936 film with Irene Dunne and the 1951 version with Ava Gardner and Howard Keel.