There’s community theatre… and then there’s community theatre. Only the Provincetown Players could boast producing one Nobel prize and five Pulitzer prizes, though as Mary Heaton Vorse said, “No group of people ever had less sense of having a mission than did the Provincetown Players.” And yet no one else changed the face and voice of American theatre as much as they did.
The world was preoccupied with the war, and the bohemian Greenwich Village set—which would normally have summered in Paris—arrived in Provincetown and left an indelible mark on it. Playwrights staged their own and each other’s plays over two amazing summers, 1915 and 1916, the best-known of them including George Cram Cook, Neith Boyce, Susan Glaspell, Katharine Dos Passos, and Eugene O’Neill.
Susan Glaspell would later write, “It was a great summer; we swam from the wharf as well as rehearsed there; we would lie on the beach and talk about plays—everyone was writing, or acting, or producing.”