[FRANCIS] SAYLES PLAYERS. The Francis Sayles Players ( Richmond, Indiana) was organized by actor-manager Francis Sayles and engaged by Omar Murray to play the Murray Theatre. According to the Richmond Palladium and Sun-Telegram, "one of the best stock companies ever seen in the Central States" opened its run on May 5, 1913, with Charles Klein melodrama, The Lion and the Mouse.
By the middle of the second decade of the twentieth century stock companies were once again a significant component of the theatre industry in the United States. Throughout the Midwest large cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, Omaha, and Minneapolis had their own theatrical troupes. However, stock companies were not limited to these large cities; smaller cities such as Fargo, North Dakota; Duluth, Minnesota, and Richmond, Indiana also had their own acting companies. The Francis Sayles Players was preceded in Richmond by several small companies, none of which was successful.
Murray, the owner-manager of the Murray Theatre had used his establishment for various forms of theatrical entertainment. He had engaged small stock companies, vaudeville troupes, motion pictures, and minstrel shows. Each, however, seemed to be only moderately successful. Francis Sayles, the company manager, had been involved in stock-company work since the beginning of its resurgence early in the twentieth century. Prior to his stay in Richmond, he had had fairly successful runs in New Castle, Pennsylvania; Dallas, Texas; Savannah, Georgia; and Montgomery, Alabama. Later during the 1920s, he was a director and actor for companies owned by Eskell G. Glifford and George C. Roberson. While Murray had contracted the services of Sayles and his stock company for the 1913 summer season only, the Francis Sayles Players proved to be so popular they remained in Richmond through March 21, 1914.
The successful summer season lasted into the autumn of 1913. However, the competition from road shows which played Richmond's Gennett Theatre began