A Family for My Art: Poets at the American Place Theatre

1960s: Days of Rage

W – Wynn Handman

“In 1963, a small not-for-profit theater called the American Place Theatre was founded in St. Clements Church, a Victorian Gothic church tucked away in Manhattan’s Theater District. The theater was founded by the minister and actor Sidney Lanier, acting teacher Wynn Handman, and actor Michael Tolan. Their goal was to foster good writing for theater by providing a place where American writers, both emerging and established, could find support in writing new works for the stage. Their vision shines through the entirety of the American Place Theatre records, recently opened to the public at NYPL’s Billy Rose Theatre Division. A notable characteristic of this fledgling theater was that it sought to give a stage to poets who wished to use the dramatic form. While poetic dramas are not revolutionary, modern verse poets who also wrote plays were a bit of a rarity. Ezra Pound…

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