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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PEOPLES THEATRE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The PEOPLES THEATRE was a short-lived workers' theater established in Cleveland during the Depression. Modeled after New York's Theatre Union and Workers Laboratory Theatre, it was begun by HOWARD DA SILVA†, a native Clevelander who had returned after being raised and trained in New York. The Peoples Theatre made its debut ca. July 1935 with the first Cleveland production of Clifford Odets's strike drama, Waiting for Lefty. After 2 more programs of proletarian plays given before predominantly union audiences, it opened its own theater in a former club at 4300 Carnegie Ave. on 23 Dec. 1935 with a production of Rudolf Wittenberg's anti-war play, The Ostriches. Espousing the drama of social problems over that of escapism as its aim, it listed such names as Odets, Eva Le Gallienne, John Howard Lawson, and K. ELMO LOWE† on its advisory board. The troupe of aspiring professionals and devoted amateurs gave at least 2 programs of one-act plays early in 1936, but Da Silva's return to New York left it without experienced leadership. Class of `29, presented in Nov. of that year, was apparently its final production.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 02:45:22 PM

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