Clarence Brown Theatre Company

The Clarence Brown Theatre Company is a professional equity company founded in 1974 by Theatre Department Head Ralph Allen (appointed head in 1972) and Sir Anthony Quayle, who served as artistic director. Quayle had been on campus in spring 1974 through a partnership with the Kennedy Center starring in Henry Denker’s The Headhunters, which rehearsed and opened at the Clarence Brown Theatre and then moved on to the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre. Quayle was also appointed as professor in theatre and taught classes.

The Clarence Brown Theatre Company is a LORT B (League of Resident Theatres) company. With grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and with Quayle as star, the company made extensive tours throughout the southeast over a number of seasons. In 1976 the company production of Rip Van Winkle, starring Quayle and directed by Joshua Logan, played at the Kennedy Center; in 1977 the third joint production between the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and UT starred Mary Martin and Anthony Quayle in the American premiere of Do You Turn Somersaults? by Aleksei Arbuzov. In 1979 the world premiere of Christopher Isherwood’s A Meeting by the River was held at the Clarence Brown with British actors Simon Ward and Keith Baxter and Irish actress Siobhan McKenna. Other company members have included Zoe Caldwell, Dame Judith Anderson, Mary Martin, Orson Bean, June Havoc, Earl Hyman, and Eva LaGallienne. A number of plays were developed at the Clarence Brown and then moved to New York. The most successful was the New Majestic Follies and Lyceum Gardens Revue, written and directed by Ralph Allen, which was purchased by the Huntington and Hartford Theatre in Los Angeles at its UT close, but poor advance sales caused the cancellation of the agreement. The play was revised and renamed for its Broadway run as Sugar Babies.

The association with LORT provides unusual opportunities for students, both MFA and undergraduates, to earn points toward membership qualification for actors equity and to perform alongside active professional actors of renown. The Clarence Brown Company produces three plays per season.

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  • Title Clarence Brown Theatre Company
  • Author
  • Keywords Clarence Brown Theatre Company
  • Website Name Volopedia
  • Publisher University of Tennessee Libraries
  • URL
  • Access Date April 21, 2024
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 5, 2018