The Pioneer Players: Politics and the Art of Theatre

The Pioneer Players: Politics and the Art of Theatre at the University of Hull, Saturday 7-Sunday 8 May 2011

Announcing a conference celebrating the centenary of the founding of the Pioneer Players theatre society.

Edith Craig (1868-1947) founded the Pioneer Players theatre society in London. Similar to the much larger Stage Society, the Pioneer Players operated by charging an annual subscription to members and performed plays (technically in private) to its membership. Some of its productions explicitly challenged the censorship of the stage. The Pioneer Players was supportive of women’s suffrage and produced plays written by women such as Hrotsvit, Susan Glaspell, Cicely Hamilton, Christopher St John, Edith Lyttleton, Gwen John. It offered a concessionary rate of membership to actors. Generally, before the First World War its plays engaged with arguments for women’s suffrage and other social reforms and from 1915 onwards it devoted energy to creating an art theatre in London, with productions in translation from the work of Anton Chekhov, Paul Claudel, Nikolai Evereinov, Torahiko Kori, Saint Georges de Bouhelier, Gerolamo Rovetta, Pierre Louys, Edmond Rostand, Herman Heijermans and Jose Echegeray.

Papers are sought on any related topic but especially the following:

  • The Pioneer Players: structure, personnel and management
  • Reviewing the Pioneer Players: reception of their activities at the time and since
  • The Pioneer Players and censorship
  • Women’s suffrage politics and the Pioneer Players (Actresses’ Franchise League; Women Women’s Writers’ Suffrage League)
  • The Pioneer Players in an inter/trans/national context
  • The Pioneer Players and women’s creativity (writing/performing/directing etc)
  • The Pioneer Players, charities and social reform
  • Translating the Pioneer Players
  • Ellen Terry and the Pioneer Players
  • Edward Gordon Craig and the Pioneer Players
  • Staging the Pioneer Players
  • Wartime Pioneer Players
  • Queer Pioneer Players
  • The Pioneer Players and the Little Theatre movement
  • The Pioneer Players in and out of theatre history
  • The Pioneer Players and modernism
  • The costume balls: the Pioneer Players and their circle

Send abstracts (no more than 250 words) for proposed 20 minute papers to

Dr Katharine Cockin, English Dept, University of Hull, Cottingham Rd, HULL HU6 7RX UK, England

Email: Fax: 01482 465641 Tel: 01482 465611