- While the mass audience for theatre was being diverted to vaudeville and motion pictures, the Drama League was formed with a goal of educating audiences by fostering good plays and legitimate theatre, whether amateur or professional. Founded in 1910 by a women's literary circle in Evanston, Illinois, the organization grew to more than 100 local centers in little over a decade. According to Karen J. Blair in The Torchbearers, membership peaked in 1915 at 100,000. Part of the movement's success lay in their ability to draw professional men to participate in the cultural work of forming public taste. In The Twentieth Century Theatre (1918), William Lyons Phelps wrote that "both managers and dramatists are glad to have the League's endorsement; it means increased business. The League flourishes in every part of America." Although a center was not founded in Kansas City until 1927, it hosted in 1928 the Nineteenth Annual Convention of the Drama League of America. The national organization disbanded in 1931, but some centers continued their activities, notably the New York Drama League.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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