Beginnings of the Provincetown Players with Bob Seay

Program for Sunday, September 26, 2021

Eugene O’Neill and Charles Demuth

“Beginnings” is a rare recording of some of the survivors and descendants of the original Provincetown Players made in 1986. Featuring Mary Heaton Vorse’s two sons, Joel O’Brien and Heaton Vorse, along Trixie Hapgood Faust and Miriam Hapgood, daughters of Provincetown Players’ founders Hutchins and Neith Boyce Hapgood, “Beginnings” takes us back to Provincetown in 1915. They were all teenagers when the famed Provincetown theater group formed. Join us for a fascinating slice of local history and a glimpse into the founding of modern American Theater. Bob Seay will share context and photo images from that era.

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After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  Meeting platform will open at 9:30 for informal socializing. Program will begin promptly at 10:00.

On July 15, 1915, writers Hutchins Hapgood and his wife Neith Boyce Hapgood put their children to bed and entertained their friends with two short plays staged on their veranda overlooking Provincetown Harbor.  It was the first production of what would become the Provincetown Players. In 1916, Mary Heaton Vorse bought Lewis Wharf and the ramshackle fishing shack built on it. She let the Provincetown Players build a small stage inside the shack and put enough wooden benches to seat 100 people.

The Provincetown Players became one of the most influential of the small, subscription theater groups that sprang up across America during the first two decades of the 20th century. Founded in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and later transplanted to Greenwich Village, it was the only such organization exclusively devoted to producing American plays. The Players’ success in developing new American playwrights, most notably Eugene O’Neill and Susan Glaspell, has earned Provincetown its special place in American theater history as the “birthplace of American drama.”