- Separating suffragette plays from those identified as women's or feminist plays is difficult in American theatre. A generation of suffragette playwrights, including Elizabeth Robins, Cicely Hamilton, and Elizabeth Baker, pressed their cause on London stages between 1905 and 1920, spurred by modernist plays by Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, and others. Robins's Votes for Women! (1907), perhaps the most emblematic suffrage play, made its first appearance in New York in March 1909. In America, actress-managers including Minnie Maddern Fiske and Mary Shaw produced works by Ibsen and Shaw with an eye toward inspiring women writers and directors, as well as encouraging young actresses to take up the cause of suffrage and other issues of importance to women. American productions of the plays of the British suffragettes appeared more frequently in little theatres after 1910 than in major commercial venues, but by World War I, women playwrights like Rachel Crothers, Susan Glaspell, and Alice Gerstenberg demonstrated that women's issues, including suffrage, could be examined more fully if the writers were women.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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