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In 1912 George Pierce Baker offered Harvard’s first playwriting course (numbered 47 in the course cataloged) His students went on to found Theatre ‘47 in Dallas Texas. Theatre ‘47 concentrated on the works of playwrights like Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw and others. Till this time these playwrights had been neglected or ill received by theatre going audiences especially in America. But Theatre ‘47’s innovative productions sparked a movement known as ‘ The Little Theatre’ movement. ‘Little’ not only refers to the smaller (and eventually black box) sized houses they played for but also the focus of the plays. Unlike the great melodramas that had entertained audiences in the late 1800s these plays had more subtile conflicts, often there was no clear villain or hero but rather human beings with crossed purposes, the acting style was also more subtile a precursor to the naturalistic style of acting that would become popular in the 60s and 70s.

The Little Theatre Movement revitalized the American theatre and lead to the rise of giants like Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neill.

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