American Theatre Companies, 1888-1930

By Weldon B. Durham | Go to book overview

J

JERMON'S STOCK COMPANY. See STANDARD THEATRE STOCK COMPANY.

[HENRY] JEWETT PLAYERS. The Henry Jewett Players ( Boston, Massachusetts) was established in 1914 at the Boston Opera House by actor- manager Henry Jewett. In 1915 Jewett leased Boston's Copley Theatre where he installed a company which he directed the following eight years. Between 1924 and 1925 Jewett erected a new theatre building which was christened the Repertory Theatre of Boston. From its opening in November 1925, the company was operated under the corporate ownership of the Jewett Repertory Theatre Fund, Inc.

Jewett was determined to offer the public high-quality drama at reasonable prices. Unlike the typical resident company, the majority of plays done by the Jewett Players were classics or dramas of relatively high quality--among them plays by Shakespeare, G. B. Shaw, J. M. Barrie, Arthur Wing Pinero, Oscar Wilde, John Galsworthy, Henry Arthur Jones, A. A. Milne, Lord Dunsany, Henrik Ibsen, Ernst Toller, Hermann Sudermann, and Victorien Sardou. Some commercial plays were done on rare occasions, mainly for the purpose of bringing in extra revenue for other productions.

Born in Australia in 1862, Jewett had been interested in theatre since childhood and made his professional acting appearance by the time he was eighteen years old. During the years that followed he was involved with theatrical companies that concentrated heavily on the classics, and it seems clear that this is how he established his preference for a repertory of the old works. Although he had spent the first half of his professional career as a classical actor, his years at the Copley and the Repertory Theatre were almost entirely devoted to directing. After 1915 he rarely appeared on stage himself, and he did his own directing entirely. The success of his Boston productions, however, must surely have been

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