By Jeffrey Ullom (auth.)

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Extra info for America’s First Regional Theatre: The Cleveland Play House and Its Search for a Home

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18 Francis Drury owned the majority of the 8600 block south of Euclid Avenue as he intended to construct a lavish 16 America’s First Regional Theatre garden for his wife. He planned on demolishing the few structures on this property—the Ammon House, a barn, and a garage—but allowed the Play House to utilize the vacant residence for performance purposes until construction began. 19 Even though a house seemed like an odd location for a theatre, it was a practical decision in the sense that they had nowhere else to go.

Compared to his wife who viewed the theatre group as a distraction from her “lonely” life, Ernest’s impact on the development of the new organization was minimal (perhaps donating his time to appease his wife more than any artistic inclinations of his own). Upon his return from the war, the Angells moved to New York. 30 Whereas Minerva Brooks’s involvement with the new theatre derived from a genuine interest in artistic exploration, the same cannot be said of her husband. For Charles Brooks, the impetus to support a new art theatre was more about opportunistic timing rather than his passion for theatre.

Intrigued, the Treat sisters travelled to the O’Neil home and watched the brief display, becoming “spellbound” and determined to gather more spectators to delight in O’Neil’s achievements. 22 Grace Treat had become a public figure for the suffrage movement beginning with her 1913 request to Cleveland Congressman William Gordon, seeking support for the creation of a committee to explore issues concerning women’s suffrage. A few months later, Treat and other suffragists drew attention to their cause when they occupied East Cleveland City Hall night after night in hopes of persuading members of a Charter Commission to vote for an amendment favorable to women’s rights.

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