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Additional resources for America’s First Regional Theatre: The Cleveland Play House and Its Search for a Home
One of Henry Keller’s students who viewed the presentation spoke of the miniature theatre to sisters Grace and Ida Treat (the former would attend the Brooks meeting while the latter would marry Raymond O’Neil). Intrigued, the Treat sisters travelled to the O’Neil home and watched the brief display, becoming “spellbound” and determined to gather more spectators to delight in O’Neil’s achievements. 22 Grace Treat had become a public figure for the suffrage movement beginning with her 1913 request to Cleveland Congressman William Gordon, seeking support for the creation of a committee to explore issues concerning women’s suffrage.
She married the Harvard law school graduate in May 1915 and moved to Cleveland shortly thereafter. ”26 Eager to find ways to ingratiate herself with Cleveland society, Angell became involved in local theatre. However, she would not find her true professional calling until she moved back east, divorced Ernest Angell, married Charlotte’s Web author E. B. 27 Both Minerva Brooks and Katharine Angell were present at the suffragist headquarters on the day that Grace Treat enthusiastically described Raymond O’Neil’s presentations, and both women asked Treat to arrange a special performance for them and their husbands.
36 It is clear that within a few years of its founding, the Kokoon Arts Club began to shift its identity away from a selective, process-oriented arts group to one that was willing to define its success through product and popularity, becoming a spectacle in the process. The Kokoon Arts Club, however, is important not only to the history of the Play House because it established the model of a small, dedicated arts group with a limited membership, but also because one of the Kokoon Club’s early participants played an influential role in the development of the new theatre organization: Henry Keller.