Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2010 Page: 46

:, 7


Dallas architect Henry Coke Knight designed a permanent home for the Dallas Little Theatre
on Maple Avenue. It housed productions from 1927 until the Little Theatre closed in 1943.

involved in set design fronl 1923 to the theatre's
closing in 1943. Local involvement fiom these
regionalist artists peaked in 1931-1933, the first
years of Charles Meredith's directorship and the
growing strength of the regionalism movement.
Artist participation in set design began when
Olin Travis, a respected artist and the director of
the Dallas Art Institute, was named the art direc-
tor for the production of Dlcy), during the sec-
ond season of the Dallas Little Theatre. Travis
created a futuristic stage setting that The Dallas
kMorning 'ls claimed "might have come out of
one of the cleverest experimental theaters of
New\ York or Paris." The set design provided a
gay and rainbow background world well and
proved a vastly cheerful setting to the sparkling
lines and delicious humor of the play.""'' In addi-
tion, John E. Douglass, a young Dallas artist and
member of the Dallas Nine, began assisting with
scenery in 1924 and continued in that capacity
for several productions up through the 1931-
1932 season.
The first national recognition for a Dallas
artist's set design occurred in 1924 when the
Dallas Little Theatre won its first Belasco Cup
with Jldce Lynlch. One of the star cast members.
Julia Hogan Fenner, described the set, designed

by Olin Travis, as "a little house on the stage ...
and painted a color that is impossible to describe.
It was weathered gray but in the light it took on
rather fascinating secondary colors."" The pro-
duction of llfppil 11 iTtf, performed at the
Dallas Little Theatre in 1925, had the distinction
of being the first production that included a
contribution by Alexandre Hogue, a prominent
Dallas artist. He is listed in the program as "stage
crafter" along with Allie Tennant, a Dallas sculp-
tor.John E. Douglass and Reveau Bassett, anoth-
er Dallas artist, painted scenery. Another high-
light of the collaboration between Alexandre
Hogue and the Dallas Little Theatre was the pro-
duction of El Cristo in 1926 which won the
Belasco Cup at the National Little Theatre
Tournament for the theater for the third time. El
Cristo is a drama that revolves around the
Penitentes, a religious group located near Taos,
New Mexico, whose members indulge in cere-
monies during Lent that include "a restaging of
the passion and crucifixion, during which the
holiest of their number impersonates Christ and
the others walk behind flagellating one another
with long whips." One can only imagine that
Hogue, who spent time visiting the Taos art
colony beginning in 1920,( drew from his expe-

46 LEGACILS a17 2010

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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2010, periodical, 2010; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146050/m1/48/ocr/: accessed August 15, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.

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