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The Ethiopian Art Theatre/Players


booksThe African American Theatre Directory, 1816-1960: A Comprehensive Guide to Early Black Theatre Organizations, Compaies, Theatres, and Performing Groups by Bernard L. Peterson

The Ethiopian Art Theatre, originally called the Chicago Folk Theatre, and later the Colored Folk Theatre was an African American theatre company based out of Chicago, Illinois.  They are also sometimes referenced as The Ethiopian Art Players. The Ethoipian Art Theatre was a significant but short lived (1922/1923-1925) theatre company founded during the Harlem Renaissance. There is some historical dispute as to which year the company was originally founded 1922 or 1923. The Ethiopian Art Theatre was founded by Raymond O’Neil, a white theatre director, and sponsored by Mrs. Sherwood Anderson, also white, though all of the performers in the company were African American. This group was unique and controversial for its time for being one of the few African American Theatre Companies to perform European theatrical pieces, and was known for producing work from African American writers for African American and Non-African American audiences.

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