Le Eva Gallienne. At 33. New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1934.
Cooper Paul Reuben. "Le Gallienne's Civic Repertory Theatre." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois, 1967.
Schanke Robert A. "Le Gallienne: First Lady of Repertory." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, 1975.
New Haven, Connecticut. Beinecke Library of Yale University. Contains the complete Civic Repertory Theatre Collection, including prompt-scripts, press books, programs, correspondence, and financial statements.
Robert A. Schanke
COBURN PLAYERS. Organized in 1905 by actor-manager Charles Coburn, the Coburn Players developed extensive tours of college campuses, offering a varied repertory of "serious" drama with Shakespeare at its core. Performing primarily in the open air during the late spring and early summer months, the Coburn Players survived through the summer of 1917 when Coburn transferred his energies to full-time Broadway productions.
In a typical summer tour during its peak years between 1911 and 1917, the Coburn Players gave over a hundred performances at approximately forty colleges and a dozen private clubs or hotels. Even though the company appeared at one time or another at virtually every college in the country from Kansas eastward, its primary activity was in the Midwest and South, often at locations without other access to professional theatre.
The primary impact of the company was its ability to reach a new audience. For example, Howard Kyle, who was with the Players in 1911, related that after a performance of Shakespeare As You Like It at the State Normal School in Warrensburg, Missouri, the audience of 400 was asked how many had seen a Shakespearean play and only 6 raised their hands. Kyle observed that the plays were usually presented by English departments as a feature of summer schools, the majority of whose students were public school teachers in a unique position to disseminate a taste for good theatre ( Harper's Weekly, December 23, 1911, pp. 12-23).
Because it performed outside without scenery, Coburn's troupe and other outdoor companies often provided the only professional drama available to colleges before the growth of educational theatre led to the construction of indoor stages. The popularity of the company also helped foster a vogue for open-air theatre which evolved with outdoor pageants into the contemporary outdoor historical drama. With the equally successful Ben Greet Players* and a dozen other short-lived outdoor companies, the Coburn tours were the first successful