resident theatre or regional theatre or repertory theatre



  • Regional nonprofitmaking US theaters run on a professionalbasis. The various companies and theaters are used as educationalresources and as training grounds for actors and directors: they arefunded by public and private subsidies. Although the 1980s saw a declinein venues, by 1990 there were still more than 200 resident theatersmounting more than 3000 productions a year.

    Although the first resident theater, the Cleveland Play house,was founded in 1915 the movement only really gathered momentum afterthe establishment of amateur Little Theatres in the 1920s.Congress provided a great impetus in 1935 when it chartered the AmericanNational Theatre and Academy (see ANTA) to revivedrama outside New York. In 1947 Margo Jones (1913 - 55) foundedTheatre '47 in Dallas, which became the prototype for later regionaltheaters. That same year Nina Vance founded Houston's Alley Theatre:in 1949 Zelda Fichandler cofounded the Arena Stage in Washington,DC and in 1952 Jules Irving and Herbert Blau began the Actors' Workshopin San Francisco.

    The 1960s saw a great expansion of resident theater, encouragedby new financial support. In 1959 the Ford Foundation made generousgrants to several small companies, allowing them to become totallyprofessional. More help came from the federal government in 1965 withthe establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts. By 1966,for the first time in the 20th century, New York had fewer professionalstage actors than the rest of the country. Resident companies establishedin the 1960s include the Minneapolis Theatre (1963) founded by TyroneGuthrie (and later renamed after him), the American PlaceTheatre company (1964), the Actors' Theatre of Louisville (1964),now the State Theatre of Kentucky, the American Conservatory Theatre(1967) in San Francisco, Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut(1965), and the Mark Taper Forum (1967) in Los Angeles.

    During this period, Chicago became a leader in resident theatersand by the end of the 1980s had 110 companies, including the SteppenwolfTheatre (1976). The Goodman Theatre, which became a resident venuein 1977, gained national recognition under Gregory Mosher.

    Resident companies have premiered many shows that subsequentlybecame Broadway hits and Pulitzer Prize winners. David Mamet's GlengarryGlen Ross, which won the 1984 Pulitzer, was first seen at theGoodman Theatre and Sam Shepard's Fool for Love (1983) originatedat San Francisco's magic Theatre.

    The Theatre Communications Group, founded in 1961 in New York,provides a communications link between regional theaters; the Leagueof Resident Theatres (LORT) in Baltimore, Maryland, was formed in1965.