Composing Ourselves: The Little Theatre Movement and the American Audience

Paperback
Charting the origins of serious theatre, drama pedagogy, and the nonprofit model. The Little Theatre movement prompted and promoted the college theatre major, the inclusion of theatre pedagogy in K-12 education, prototypes for the nonprofit model, and the notion that theatre is a valuable form of self-expression. An important piece of revisionist history, Composing Ourselves: The Little Theatre Movement and the American Audience argues that the movement was a national phenomenon, not just the result of aspirants copying the efforts of the much-storied Provincetown Players, Washington Square Players, Neighborhood Playhouse, and Chicago Little Theatre. Going beyond the familiar histories of the best-known groups, Dorothy Chansky traces the origins of both the ideas and the infrastructures for serious theatre that are ordinary parts of the American cultural landscape today. She also investigates the gender discrimination, racism, and class insensitivity that were embedded in reformers' ideas of the universal and that still trouble the rhetoric of regional, educational, and community theatre. Fifteen illustrations complement the volume, now in paperback for the first time.