top of page

From the Artistic Director

The Continuing Mission of a Poets’ Theatre

We as a collective of artists offer a wide range of events, from distinctive, rehearsed, recitals (often with music) of new and classic poetry — lyric, epic and dramatic —, to fully staged theatre evenings of either plays written in verse, or plays conceived and realized in a poetic spirit that combines many media orchestrated around deep and central respect for The Word. Only our examples can makes these objectives clear.

Why a “Poets’” Theatre ?

Because we remain true to the Poets’ Theatre founders and their earnest principles. We originated in 1950, organized by young poets who found existing American theatre culture unfriendly and unwelcoming to their ambitions as poets. Inspired by William Butler Yeats (founder of the Abbey Theatre), and closer to home by T.S. Eliot, who actively wrote plays in verse (thus defying the chatty demotic prose “realism” that had come to dominate mid-century commercial theatre) the young poets wanted access to a stage of their own. On this alternative stage, the founding poets (Richard Wilbur, Donald Hall, Frank O’Hara, Richard Eberhardt, William Alfred joined forces with theatre practitioners Mary Manning Howe, Joseph Everingham, “Bunny” Lang and many others) set out to voice aloud the concentrated “high text” of serious poetic diction and embody the full dramatic force of their poems in a fully visualized presentation of live performance. The young poets also wanted to write new plays in verse. To do this they needed (as