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Roy Mitchell (1884-1944) was born in Fort Gratiot, Michigan, and attended the University of Toronto. While working as a journalist in the U. S. and Canada, Mitchell also directed plays for the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto. He moved to Greenwich Village in 1915 to study theatrical design. He was the technical director of the Greenwich Village Theatre from 1917 to 1918, where he worked on a revival of the Chester Mysteries. In 1919, Mitchell returned to Canada as the director of the Hart House Theatre at the University of Toronto. He and his wife Jocelyn Taylor moved back to New York in 1927, and in 1930, Mitchell became a member of the faculty of New York University, where he was in charge of a program in experimental dramatic arts. Mitchell published many books and articles on the theater and stagecraft, including Shakespeare for Community Players (1919) and Creative Theatre (1929). An avid Theosophist, Mitchell also founded the Blavatsky Institute of Canada in the early 1920s, which published several of his lectures on Theosophy, as well as his 1923 book Theosophy in Action.
The cover and front matter of Roy Mitchell's Shakespeare for Community Players, 1919
In his writings and his theatrical projects, Mitchell sought to balance the practical aspects of theater production with his spiritual ideals. Shakespeare for Community Players is an introduction to all aspects of theater, from rehearsal to set design, and is intended for novices in the field. Mitchell envisions in the book a new type of "community player," who takes pleasure in his or her role within the collaborative experience of theater production, and who finds in that experience a means of self-expression.