The Queens Arctic Theatre poster
Various means were employed by the Royal Navy to alleviate the boredom of the long Arctic night, almost three months without sunlight. Classes and lectures, the production of newspapers, games and snow sculpture, were all used to keep the men occupied from November to February, when there was not enough light for sledging expeditions. Theatricals and pantomimes, first introduced by Parry in 1820, became a navy tradition.
Beginning in 1850, the ships involved in the search for Franklin were equipped with printing presses. Their prime purpose was to print “balloon papers” giving their location and direction, to scatter as they went in hopes of one being found by members of the Franklin expedition. However, the presses were used, as well, to produce playbills, announcements, and newspapers.
The Queens Arctic Theatre poster (21 December 1852) was printed in Northumberland
Sound, near the northwest point of Devon Island, the most northern printing location.
At the bottom of the poster, the printer notes problems with the ink freezing on the rollers.