- The entire modernist period witnessed ardent theatromania, so that regular theatergoing was supplemented by parlor theatricals, as depicted in fiction by Louisa May Alcott, Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, and others. In towns where long dark periods interspersed appearances by professional players on tour, the locals would form amateur dramatic societies and rehearse a play one or two nights a week for a few months, then perform it at the opera house for a paying audience. Any profit after expenses had been paid would often go to charity. By the 1920s, vast numbers of elocution teachers advertised to teach amateurs the fundamentals of expression. The widespread enjoyment of amateur theatricals underlay the little theatre movement of the 1910s, which in turn became the foundation for a vast network of community theatres in the 1920s and 1930s. Indeed, some amateur theatres evolved into professional theatres, like the Cleveland Play House.See also academic theatre; THE Torch-bearers.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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