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Theater pioneer dies

July
24
1955

On this day in 1955, acclaimed director/producer Margo Jones died in Dallas. Born Margaret Virginia Jones in 1911 in Livingston, Texas, she gained the reputation as an outstanding theater director. She founded the Houston Community Players in 1936 and taught theater at the Univesity of Texas at Austin in the early 1940s. During this time she also met budding playwright Tennessee Williams, and her directing of several of his plays brought him to the attention of national theater critics. Jones is best-known for pioneering the American resident theater movement—she envisioned a network of nonprofit professional resident theaters across the nation. She established the first professional arena theater in Dallas, and it opened in 1947. In the ensuring years, she worked with many stage luminaries and produced major world premieres, including Inherit the Wind. Her vision of establishing professional resident theaters brought Broadway plays throughout the country and changed the shape of theater in America.

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