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Additional info for America’s First Regional Theatre: The Cleveland Play House and Its Search for a Home
Furthermore, juxtaposing the development and activities of the Play House with other participants of the Little Theatre movement highlights the theatre’s growing pains, and analyzing the Play House’s actions within the context of the Cleveland community provides new insight as to why the Play House drastically changed its course in 1921 and why it was able to survive when so many Little Theatres failed. If the role of a Little Theatre was to introduce audiences to the new style of playwriting produced in Europe’s independent theatres, then the Play House failed miserably in accomplishing that task.
The Brooks and Angells responded enthusiastically to O’Neil’s light show, but none more than Minerva. Listening to Raymond discuss Craig’s theories about performance and production, her intense enthusiasm prompted her to immediately suggest a new course of action. Minerva declared, “I think we should form a little theatre group to produce plays in this new art form. . ”29 The Angells kept their promise of support not only by attending the meeting at the Brooks’ house, but also by playing instrumental roles in the Play House’s earliest endeavors—Katharine was one of the six puppeteers for the first Play House production, Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Death of Tintagiles.
3 Such insufficient generalities fail to classify properly the variety of theatres that existed in the 1910s, let alone those of the Little Theatre movement. For example, whereas many writers often confused the term “art theatre” with “Little Theatre” because both premiered new plays, others linked “Little Theatres” with community theatres because these small organizations provided performance opportunities for amateurs. 5 Consensus exists among many scholars concerning the origins and timeframe of the Little Theatre movement.