Welcome to the home page for the Theatre History Podcast! You can find information about the show, as well as a list of every one of the episodes we’ve produced so far. Visit our blog for a look behind the scenes at what’s going on with the podcast, as well as occasional essays on theatre history.
Episode 77: Exploring the Imitations of Gertrude Hoffmann with Dr. Sunny Stalter-Pace
We tend to think of originality as a positive attribute, something that makes art and artists stand out, while “imitation” is almost a dirty word. But as Sunny Stalter-Pace’s new biography of Gertrude Hoffmann shows us, imitation can often be its own sort of artistic accomplishment. Hoffmann was a successful dancer and performer who imitated important modernist acts like the Ballets Russes. Sunny joined us to talk about her book, Imitation Artist: Gertrude Hoffmann’s Life in Vaudeville and Dance.
- Learn more about Sunny’s book: https://nupress.northwestern.edu/9780810141919/imitation-artist/
- And buy it from bookshop.org
- Explore the Max and Gertrude Hoffmann Photograph Collection at Wake Forest University: https://wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/handle/10339/38811
- Visit Sunny’s website: https://www.sunnystalterpace.com/
Episode 76: Voyage to the Planet of the Grapes with Peter Michael Marino
How do you create theatre in the midst of a global pandemic? Pete Marino discovered one answer to that question when he began looking into the Victorian-era tradition of toy theatre, which allowed 19th-century drama fans to bring their favorite plays into their homes. He fused that with one of his favorite classic sci-fi films to create Planet of the Grapes, a toy theatre reimagining of Planet of the Apes.
- Visit Planet of the Grapes‘s website to find out more, including information about upcoming shows: https://www.planetgrapeshow.com/
- Read a short article by Pete for American Theatre magazine about his work on Planet of the Grapes: https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/04/29/theatre-thats-evolved-from-grapes/
- Learn more about the history of toy theatre, as well as how artists are using its techniques today:
- Explore the Arthur Weyhe Toy Theatre Collection at the New York Public Library; you can access the finding aid here and explore images from the collection here.
- The World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts has a brief summary of toy theatre’s history: https://wepa.unima.org/en/toy-theatre/.
- Great Small Works is a theatre company working with toy theatre techniques today – visit their website here: https://greatsmallworks.org/toy.html
- Read Marisa C. Hayes’s article on toy theatre performances during the 2020 covid-19 pandemic in this Theatre Times article: https://thetheatretimes.com/the-magic-is-in-the-miniature-toy-theatre-thrives-online-during-quarantine/
Episode 75: Our Town in the 21st Century: Howard Sherman’s Another Day’s Begun
Our Town is one of the classics of the American stage, but how well do we really know this play? Howard Sherman joins us to discuss his new book, Another Day’s Begun: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town in the 21st Century, in which he speaks with people who have been part of productions of the play in the last few decades. Many of them have gained surprising new insights into this supposedly all-too-familiar play.
- Learn more about Howard’s book on his website: https://hesherman.com/anotherdaysbegun/
- Check out Another Day’s Begun at our affiliate link at bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/shop/theatrehistorypodcast
- Additional reading:
- Howard’s LitHub article on the WWII-era radio play that served as an unofficial “sequel” to Our Town: https://lithub.com/on-the-our-town-spin-off-that-served-as-wwii-spirit-building/
- Howard’s article in the Guardian on the international appeal of Our Town: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jan/20/thornton-wilder-our-town-is-americas-answer-to-shakespeare
- Howard’s account of attending a production of Our Town at Sing Sing Prison: http://www.hesherman.com/2013/06/03/address-sing-sing-prison-grovers-corners-ny-the-mind-of-god/
- Watch the 1977 TV version of Our Town with Hal Holbrook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEoXuXRoOdY&t=14s
Episode 74: Discovering Teresa Deevy with Drs. Una Kealy and Kate McCarthy
Teresa Deevy was one of Ireland’s most frequently-produced playwrights in the 1930s. As a Deaf woman in a deeply patriarchal society that was trying to assert its identity in the wake of independence, she brought a unique perspective to Irish theatre. But she’s been relatively neglected by later generations of scholars and artists. Among the people who are working to change that are Dr. Kate McCarthy and Dr. Una Kealy, who join us to share fascinating insights into Deevy’s life and work.
- Read Teresa Deevy’s one-act play, The King of Spain’s Daughter: https://www.estudiosirlandeses.org/2020/03/translation-of-the-king-of-spains-daughter-1935-by-teresa-deevy/
- Read Una’s article, “Resisting Power and Direction: The King of Spain’s Daughter by Teresa Deevy as a Feminist Call to Action” for additional insights into this play: https://www.estudiosirlandeses.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/DEF-INTRO-TRANSLATION-1.pdf
- Explore the Special Collections and Archives at Maynooth University, which houses extensive material related to Deevy: https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library/collections/special-collections-and-archives
- Learn more about recent scholarly work on Deevy at the “Active Speech: Sharing Scholarship on Teresa Deevy” conference: https://activespeech2021.org/
- Find out more about the Abbey Theatre’s 2017 productions of Deevy’s work in their Research Pack, which includes Kate and Una’s contributions: https://www.abbeytheatre.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/KATIE-ROCHE_RESEARCH-PACK-2017.pdf
Episode 73: Exploring the Theatre 2020 Collection with Dr. Eric Colleary
How was theatre in the United States affected by the events of 2020? At the same time that the covid-19 pandemic closed down live performances and threw the entire economy of the performing arts into chaos, the theatre world found itself trying to respond to protests against racial injustice. Dr. Eric Colleary, along with his colleagues at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin, is leading an effort to document this tumultuous year through the Theatre 2020 Collection.
- Learn more about the Theatre 2020 Collection and find out how you can contribute: https://www.hrc.utexas.edu/theatre2020/
- Browse some selected items from the collection here: https://hrc.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15878coll117