February 11, 1926: The Playmakers Meet the President

 

The Carolina Playmakers at the White House following their visit with the President. (Dramatic Art Department Records #40080, University Archives.)

The Carolina Playmakers at the White House following their visit with the President. (Dramatic Art Department Records #40080, University Archives.)


In February 1926, the Carolina Playmakers embarked on their second Southern Tour, performing across North Carolina and Virginia, in Baltimore, and Washington DC. Led by founder, professor Frederick Koch, the theater company performed three of their signature “folk plays”—plays intended to reflect real North Carolina life—at each stop on the tour. The plays were Quare Medicine by Paul Green, Fixin’s by Paul and Erma Green, and Gaius and Gaius, Jr. by Lucy M. Cobb. The troupe received positive reviews throughout their tour, despite setbacks—near Sweetbriar, Virginia, their truck overturned and many set pieces were damaged.

The Carolina Playmakers on the road during their second Southern Tour, 1926. (Dramatic Art Department Records #40080, University Archives.)

The Carolina Playmakers on the road during their second Southern Tour, 1926. (Dramatic Art Department Records #40080, University Archives.)

The day after their performance in Washington, the theater company visited the White House and had the opportunity to meet President Calvin Coolidge and his wife, First Lady Grace Coolidge. The President and First Lady were unable to attend the Playmakers performance, but expressed interest in their work.  Professor Koch presented the Coolidges with two volumes of the Playmakers’ folk plays, which the President said looked “very interesting indeed.”

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