Regional Theatre Is Discussed on "Behind The Scenes" for Public Television with James Earl Jones

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A new piece on the show will discuss the importance and growth of regional theatre.

Regional theater is alive and well in America. James Earl Jones hosts a discussion about regional theater during an episode of the dynamic television series called “Behind The Scenes.”

In 1961, there were only a few regional theaters. The focus of live theater was nearly exclusively on Broadway productions in New York City. All that changed when the Ford Foundation gave an initial grant of $9 million to support the advancement of regional theater across the country. In the few years following the initial grant, almost two dozen new regional theaters came into being. The Ford Foundation was to follow up the first grant with a total of $287 million.

Because regional theaters do not have to mount multi-million dollar productions, such as those that appear on Broadway, they have more freedom to try experimental works and works from new playwrights. Often they have an intimate smaller theater as well as a much larger one. In the small theater, they offer performances of avant-garde plays and innovative works that are free of the limits from commercial considerations.

Regional theater has significantly changed the face of the American theatrical experience. It offers opportunities for many to experience live theater in their local community.

Enjoy watching James Earl Jones, as this new piece discusses performing in regional theaters in America as part of the educational series “Behind The Scenes.” This program is independent, and is not promoted, supported, or distributed by PBS.

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Jon Eliot
Behind The Scenes
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