Composing Ourselves: The Little Theatre Movement and the American Audience (Paperback)
  • Composing Ourselves: The Little Theatre Movement and the American Audience (Paperback)
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Composing Ourselves: The Little Theatre Movement and the American Audience (Paperback)

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£37.95
Paperback 320 Pages / Published: 30/06/2005
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Charting the origins of serious theatre, drama pedagogy, and the nonprofit model. The Little Theatre movement prompted and promoted the college theatre major, the inclusion of theatre pedagogy in K-12 education, prototypes for the nonprofit model, and the notion that theatre is a valuable form of self-expression. An important piece of revisionist history, ""Composing Ourselves: The Little Theatre Movement and the American Audience"" argues that the movement was a national phenomenon, not just the result of aspirants copying the efforts of the much-storied Provincetown Players, Washington Square Players, Neighborhood Playhouse, and Chicago Little Theatre. Going beyond the familiar histories of the best-known groups, Dorothy Chansky traces the origins of both the ideas and the infrastructures for serious theatre that are ordinary parts of the American cultural landscape today. She also investigates the gender discrimination, racism, and class insensitivity that were embedded in reformers' ideas of the ""universal"" and that still trouble the rhetoric of regional, educational, and community theatre. Fifteen illustrations complement the volume, now in paperback for the first time.

Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
ISBN: 9780809326495
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 449 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
" In "Composing Ourselves," Dorothy Chansky weaves a compelling narrative of the emergence of the literary theatre in America. By offering vivid portraits and probing analyses of the people and institutions that were responsible for turning a popular amusement into high art, she uncovers the sometimes troubling assumptions that underlay the elevation of the stage in the early twentieth century. Her attention to the ironies of history illuminates the contradictions that informed not only the Little Theatre movement, but also the theatre of our own time."
-- David Savran, City University of New York

"In "Composing Ourselves", Dorothy Chansky weaves a compelling narrative of the emergence of the literary theatre in America. By offering vivid portraits and probing analyses of the people and institutions that were responsible for turning a popular amusement into high art, she uncovers the sometimes troubling assumptions that underlay the elevation of the stage in the early twentieth century. Her attention to the ironies of history illuminates the contradictions that informed not only the Little Theatre movement, but also the theatre of our own time."

--David Savran, City University of New York


"In "Composing Ourselves," Dorothy Chansky weaves a compelling narrative of the emergence of the literary theatre in America. By offering vivid portraits and probing analyses of the people and institutions that were responsible for turning a popular amusement into high art, she uncovers the sometimes troubling assumptions that underlay the elevation of the stage in the early twentieth century. Her attention to the ironies of history illuminates the contradictions that informed not only the Little Theatre movement, but also the theatre of our own time."

--David Savran, City University of New York


In "Composing Ourselves," Dorothy Chansky weaves a compelling narrative of the emergence of the literary theatre in America. By offering vivid portraits and probing analyses of the people and institutions that were responsible for turning a popular amusement into high art, she uncovers the sometimes troubling assumptions that underlay the elevation of the stage in the early twentieth century. Her attention to the ironies of history illuminates the contradictions that informed not only the Little Theatre movement, but also the theatre of our own time.

David Savran, City University of New York"


"In Composing Ourselves, Dorothy Chansky weaves a compelling narrative of the emergence of the literary theatre in America. By offering vivid portraits and probing analyses of the people and institutions that were responsible for turning a popular amusement into high art, she uncovers the sometimes troubling assumptions that underlay the elevation of the stage in the early twentieth century. Her attention to the ironies of history illuminates the contradictions that informed not only the Little Theatre movement, but also the theatre of our own time."--David Savran, City University of New York
"Composing Ourselves significantly expands our understanding of the Little Theatre movement in the United States and the aesthetic, political, and historical forces informing its development. Simultaneously, Chansky's study convincingly demonstrates the wide-ranging regional and national impact of these organizations; in so doing she productively shifts our long-standing scholarly focus from a few notable companies to a panoply of stages and artists who, both theoretically and very practically, shaped this comparatively underexplored but powerful aspect of twentieth-century U.S. culture."--J. Ellen Gainor, Cornell University
"A stylistic fusion of historical narrative and contemporary theory, repositioning the Little Theatre Movement as the progenitor of pedagogical and even public relations practices, Composing Ourselves joins a surprisingly small cohort of studies of the 'American' audience. Chansky interrogates perpetuated notions of the movement's participants as privileged proponents of pluralism, placing them as members of a professional-managerial class, with attendant hegemonic assumptions that operate beneath the social radar. Her work challenges those of us who teach American theatre history to revisit our notions of modernism, progressivism, the Little Theatre movement, and theatre education itself." --Anne Fletcher, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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