By Jeffrey Ullom (auth.)
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Extra info for America’s First Regional Theatre: The Cleveland Play House and Its Search for a Home
In retrospect, the success of her husband Charles S. Brooks as an author and playwright overshadowed the important contributions that Minerva Brooks made to the creation of the Play House. Nevertheless, it is clear that Minerva Brooks was a force to be reckoned with both in the Play House and in Cleveland society. A dedicated feminist in addition to her status as a socialite familiar with “Millionaire’s Row,” she was not afraid to ruffle the feathers of the political and societal establishment.
Its ties to with the bohemian society became a frequent topic of conversation in Cleveland’s social circles—not because the populace debated the merits and philosophies behind the “new arts” movement, but because patrons and supporters anxiously waited to see the exotic costumes. Press coverage of the Kokoon Arts Club’s efforts primarily focused upon their social events, as exhibited in the description of the January 1913 “bal masque:” Cleveland art folk are awhirl with preparations for the bal masque to be given the evening of Jan.
Some have thousands of subscribers and are firmly founded in the community life; others live from hand to mouth. Some produce virtually every night; others only two or three times a season. 11 While the Play House established itself in 1915 as an “art theatre,” hoping to mimic the aesthetics of Edward Gordon Craig and numerous art theatres of Europe, the artistic, administrative, and economic decisions of the Play House between 1915 and 1921 fail to coincide with the aesthetics and timeline of the Little Theatre movement, suggesting that the Ohio theatre should not be considered a contributor to the movement and that its role in the development of American theatre needs to be reexamined.
America’s First Regional Theatre: The Cleveland Play House and Its Search for a Home by Jeffrey Ullom (auth.)