In November 1928 a group known simply as the Little Theatre Players was formed. It was the first Little Theatre of its kind in Akron, Ohio. The first play presented by the Little Theatre Players was "The Texas Nightingale" by Zoe Atkins and it played to a standing room only audience on March 12,1929. Performances were primarily at club functions, local service groups, hospitals and the Children's Home. From the beginning, modest card parties and in-home teas augmented box office ticket sales and playbill advertising. However, budget restrictions so inherent to little theatre presented only a minor obstacle since husbands, brothers, and sons wielded carpenter tools and wives, daughters and aspiring thespians handled the paint and scrub brushes.
As its first paid director on October 31, 1931 until her death in 1969, Florence "Billie" Lahrmer nurtured and protected our little theatre with intense devotion. Even today her presence is felt. An oil portrait of her by Jack Richard has a prominent place in the lobby and no performance goes on without it.
An August 13, 1932 edition of The Literary Digest listed the Little Theatre Players as one of Eighteen Little Theatres in America. The Literary Digest was an influential, general interest magazine published by Frank and Wagnalls. The first issue was in 1890 and in 1938 it merged into Time Magazine. During the late 1920s film and radio took the entertainment worlds by storm and commercial touring companies (known as "the road") declined. Subsequently Little Theatres became the hope and salvation of live drama as they blossomed in communities across the Untied States.
Before very long the popularity of the Little Theatre Players required Miss Helen Wolfe to recommend that a Theatre Board be formed. The board of directors consisted of eighteen members of the Akron Woman's City Club.
In 1946 The Akron Woman's City Club moved to grey Lodge on West Exchange Street. To accommodate the rapidly developing theatre, land harboring an abandoned carriage house at the rear of the Grey Lodge property was purchased. In 1946 the Coach House Theatre was born and the identifying horse and buggy logo soon appeared.
Coach House Theatre is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media
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