© 2013

The Group Theatre

Passion, Politics, and Performance in the Depression Era

  • Authors
  • Editors
  • Don B Wilmeth
  • Milly S Barranger

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Introduction: A Cautionary Tale

    1. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 1-9
  3. People

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 13-31
    3. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 33-50
  4. Performance

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 53-63
    3. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 65-79
    4. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 81-94
    5. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 95-112
    6. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 113-128
    7. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 129-145
    8. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 147-164
  5. Politics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 165-165
    2. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 167-183
    3. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 185-202
    4. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 203-217
    5. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 219-240
    6. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 241-260
    7. Helen Krich Chinoy
      Pages 261-262

About this book


The Group Theatre , a groundbreaking ensemble collective, started the careers of many top American theatre artists of the twentieth century and founded what became known as Method Acting. This book is the definitive history, based on over thirty years of research and interviews by the foremost theatre scholar of the time period, Helen Chinoy.

About the authors

Helen Krich Chinoy became one of our most distinguished American theater scholars and devoted over three decades to her study of the Group Theatre. This was a natural extension of a number of earlier projects, including the seminal Actors on Acting (1949) and Directors on Directing (1953), both still in print and co-edited with Toby Cole, and Women in American Theatre (1981), edited with Linda Walsh Jenkins. A Columbia University PhD, Helen spent most of her career at Smith College, USA. After her retirement, she held the Hoffman Eminent Scholar Chair in Theatre at Florida State University and the Harold Clurman Professorship at Hunter College, USA. In 1989 the Association for Theatre in Higher Education awarded her its Career Achievement Award.

Bibliographic information


"Elicit[s] fresh insights and convey[s] the flavor of the company's lofty goals, day-to-day realities, and sometimes fractious interpersonal relationships to an extent not hitherto available . . . Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers." - CHOICE

"A comprehensive and informative look at The Group . . . I gladly recommend this new book to [people interested in The Group Theatre]." -

"Chinoy's impressive theory coheres to illustrate how the company strived to live up to the 'Group Idea'. the admirable but vague notion that theatre should lyrically speak to the range of cultural and political experiences of American life - an obsession that Chinoy calls a 'cautionary tale '. . . After all, it took a spectrum of experiences and values to build 'the most important experiment in American theatre'." - Theatre Survey

"The venerable Helen Krich Chinoy passed away prior to completing her work on the Group Theatre . . . But Don Wilmeth and Milly Barranger have done an admirable job with the monumental task of making certain that Chinoy's groundbreaking research saw the light of publication. The published result is . . . richly textured in its analysis and one where the author's voice is allowed to flow free." - Theatre Journal