American Theatre and Drama between the Wars (1917-1940) by Danielle Hibbs (Theatre 1121)

Timeline created by dlhibbs
In History
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    American Theatre and Drama between the Wars (1917-1940)

  • "The Stage Women’s War Relief" (1918-1938)

    "The Stage Women’s War Relief" (1918-1938)
    "The Stage Women’s War" relief was formed by women theatre volunteers & suffragists at the beginning of World War I (1918). The organization created various forms of entertainment for troops. They assisted with clothing and hospital supplies. They even created a restaurant for military called the “Stage Door Canteen” in 1918 in NYC. Their logo was a woman on stage, letting her red fur drop wayside and revealing her white volunteer ensemble. You can even see comedy and tragedy masks at the top.
  • Kenneth Macgowan (1888-1963)

    Kenneth Macgowan (1888-1963)
    Macgowan graduated Harvard in 1911 and was active in the Greenwich Village's theater circuit around 1919 and on. Part of the "Provincetown Playhouse" with Eugene O'Neill (with whom he was close friends) and Robert Edmond Jones in 1922. He was a well known director, producer, writer, and critic. "Macgowan published several books in the early 1920s, including "The Theatre of Tomorrow" (1921) and he contributed articles to the New York Globe, Vogue, and Theatre Arts magazine" (Schwatrzberg).
  • "The Emperor Jones" by Eugene O'Neill

    "The Emperor Jones" by Eugene O'Neill
    This is the first play with an African American actor as lead in American Theatre. Jones is described as a “resourceful, self-assured Black (former) Pullman Porter, who kills another Black man in a dice game. He is jailed, and later escapes to a small, backward Caribbean island where he sets himself up as emperor. The play recounts his story in flashbacks as Brutus makes his way through the jungle in an attempt to escape former subjects who have rebelled against him” (AAREG).
  • "Beyond the Horizon" by Eugene O'Neill (1920)

    "Beyond the Horizon" by Eugene O'Neill (1920)
    The lives of brothers Robert and Andrew unfold in this play. Robert sets sail with a family member and explores the world and Andrew inherits their family farm and stays put on land. Before Robert leaves for his voyage on the oceans, he discovers he is in love with a girl named Ruth Atkins, who just happens to be the girl next door. This play won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1920.
  • Robert Edmond Jones (1887-1954)

    Robert Edmond Jones (1887-1954)
    Jones graduated from Harvard in 1910 and was best known by his "imaginative simplification of sets that initiated the 20th-century American revolution against realism in stage design" (Britannica). He began to work with Kenneth Macgowan in the 1920s, with the Provincetown Playhouse (or Provincetown Players). Jones also co-published "Continental Stagecraft" (1922) with him. From 1921-1946, he designed sets for plays by Eugene O'Neill. In 1933, he started designing for color motion pictures.
  • "American Laboratory Theatre" (1923-1930)

    "American Laboratory Theatre" (1923-1930)
    “American Laboratory Theatre" was formed in 1923 and they promoted the “Stanislavski System” of acting. Konstantin Stanislavski (1863-1938) was considered one of Moscow, Russia’s best character performers of all time. Stanislavski’s methods are still used today to assist actors for their realistic performances. The American Lab Theatre generated much newspaper publicity in New York during its seven-year struggle from 1923 to 1930.
  • "Works Progress Administration" and "The Federal Theatre Project" (1935-1943)

    "Works Progress Administration" and "The Federal Theatre Project" (1935-1943)
    "The Works Progress Administration" (WPA) was an employment and infrastructure program created by President Roosevelt in May 1935, after the stock market crash of October 1929. From 1935-1943, the WPA put roughly 8.5 million Americans to work. "The Federal Theatre Project" was created in August 1935. It was the largest and most ambitious efforts sponsored by the WPA and provided work for unemployed professionals in the theater during the Great Depression from 1935-1939.
  • "Negro Repertory Company" Seattle (1936-1939)

    "Negro Repertory Company" Seattle (1936-1939)
    Burton and Florence James (married) were an incredible actor/director combination that created this company in 1936 as a way to be involved with the "Federal Theatre Project" (FTP). They already had a successful theatre, the Seattle Repertory. Burton had been passed up for the directorship of this region with the FTP, but persisted to be involved in some way. The "Negro Repertory Company" was born and "their second production about a longshoremen’s strike, Stevedore, changed everything" (Guthu).
  • "One Third of a Nation" (1938)

    "One Third of a Nation" (1938)
    "One Third a Nation" was created in 1938 by Arthur Arent. Living newspaper plays were performances of currents events (including controversial issues or societal problems) and offers ways to resolve them. In "Nation", Roosevelt's second inauguration address in 1937 is examined "I see one-third of a nation ill-house, ill-clad, ill-nourished. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little".
  • "American Theatre Wing" (1940-Present)

    "American Theatre Wing" (1940-Present)
    This organization evolved from “The Stage Women’s War Relief” to the “American Theatre Wing” in 1940 due to another world war looming. Also known as “the Wing”, the organization assisted with entertainment for the troops through theatrical performances with the “Stage Door Canteen”. They also donated a huge amount of money to legitimize the art form. When the war was over, “the Wing” founded “The Professional School” and taught famous actors such as James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury.
  • "The American Theatre Wing" (Optional Bonus Video 2017)

    "The American Theatre Wing" (Optional Bonus Video 2017)
    Wing Minute 2017
    "Wing Minute 2017" with Sally Field discussing the history and efforts of the women founders (with men becoming involved once it became "the Wing") behind the original organization and their involvement as it evolved. They also promoted diversity at their "Stage Door Canteen" by making sure people of color were welcome and created an interracial atmosphere.