Provincetown Players


Provincetown Players
U.S. theatrical company.

It was founded in 1915 by a group of writers and artists in Provincetown, Mass., to encourage new and experimental works. Among their first productions, which were often staged in members' homes, was the first play by Eugene O'Neill, a founding member whose career was launched by the Players. In 1916 the players moved to New York's Greenwich Village. There they introduced several more of O'Neill's plays as well as works by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Susan Glaspell, Paul Green, and dozens of other playwrights. The company disbanded after the stock-market crash of 1929, though the Provincetown Playhouse has continued to serve intermittently as a theatre into the 21st century.

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▪ American theatrical organization
      theatrical organization that began performing in 1915 in Provincetown, Mass., U.S., founded by a nontheatre group of writers and artists whose common aim was the production of new and experimental plays. Among the original Provincetowners who staged the first plays in members' homes were Mary Heaton Vorse, George Cram Cook (Cook, George Cram), Susan Glaspell (Glaspell, Susan), Hutchins Hapgood, Wilbur Steele, and Robert Edmond Jones (Jones, Robert Edmond).

      In 1916 the group produced in New York City Eugene O'Neill's Bound East for Cardiff and Thirst, thus launching the career of one of America's distinguished playwrights. That winter the Provincetown Players took up residence in New York City's Greenwich Village and for years thereafter discovered and developed the work of such noted writers, designers, and actors as Floyd Dell, Edna St. Vincent Millay (Millay, Edna St. Vincent) (Aria da Capo), Donald Oenslager, Kenneth Macgowan, Jasper Deeter, and Paul Green, whose In Abraham's Bosom was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1927.

      From its inception to its demise in 1929, the Provincetown Players flourished as a noncommercial theatre; it stimulated the work of many theatrical talents that otherwise might have remained obscure.

Additional Reading
Robert Károly Sarlós, Jig Cook and the Provincetown Players: Theatre in Ferment (1982).

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Universalium. 2010.

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