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At left are the members of Somerville Theatre Players in 1930, a stock company that performed in the theater of the same name from 1915 until 1932. Stock companies were small acting groups that, unlike touring companies, were permanently located in one city. performed locally. The grueling schedule followed by the Somerville Players was typical of stock companies: a new play each week with 10-12 performances a week. While the permanent members of the troupe were Somerville residents, the group's performances often featured temporary guest actors who went on to national careers. During the winter of 1919 Tallulah Bankhead performed with the Somerville Players. She describes the intense pace in a letter to her grandfather: "We rehearse every morning from nine till twelve and then lunch, then a matinee every day, then dinner, then evening performances. I am nearly dead now and I have only been here a week." The Somerville Players offered to keep her on, but she was unhappy with her accommodations as well as the unrelenting performance schedule. Bankhead couldn't have known it then, but stock companies were in their final years. Their audience faded with the addition of sound to motion pictures and the arrival of the Great Depression.
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