hat is Twelfth Night Club, Inc.?
Twelfth Night Club, Inc. is the oldest club for professional women of the theater in the United States.
It was founded in 1891 by Alice Fischer (who married the Actor William Harcourt). She envisioned a sister organization to the Lambs and the Players. Its original name was the F.A.D.’s, which stood for fencing, acting and dancing. It was Daniel Frohman who suggested “The Twelfth Night Club” would be a more appropriate name for a club whose members were all Broadway leading ladies. This was the name under which we were incorporated in 1893. We still have our original charter from New York State.
Our archives contain many autographed photographs of past members and guests of Twelfth Night: our first President, Viola Allen (shown above), and Laurette Taylor, May Robson, Blanche Ring, Louise Drew, Minnie Maddern Fiske, Julia Marlowe, Helen Modjeska, Sarah Bernhardt, Helen Bonfils, Maida Reade and Helen Hayes, to name a few.
There were also many great men of the American theater who were friends of Twelfth Night: Daniel Frohman, Edwin Booth, John Drew, John Barrymore, David Belasco, Joseph Jefferson, Chauncey Alcott and David Warfield.
Today, our members work in all areas of theater, TV and film. We are established as a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising money for theater-related charities as well as providing our members with a warm and relaxed atmosphere to enjoy the company of other theater professionals.
We are an all-volunteer organization, existing completely through contributions and the dues of our members and Gentleman Friends. Almost every month we hold a Sunday afternoon meeting with a special theme or celebrity guest. Anniverdary Party guests in recent years have included: Rosemary Harris, Angela Lansbury, Frances Sternhagen, Estelle Parsons, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Lavin, Lee Grant, Bebe Neuwirth, Sally Struthers, Don Correa and Sandy Duncan.
Our Players and Playwrights group continues to hold readings and staged productions. Membership participation at all levels (writing, performing, directing and production) is encouraged and welcomed.
Currently The Actor’s Fund of America is generously providing us space to hold our functions. But we are still searching for a permanent home where we can display our extensive memorabilia of the American Theater, and continue as a support network of encouragement and companionship for Actresses in the 21st century.
If you are interested in learning more about The Twelfth Night Club, Inc. please write to us. Contributions in any amount to help further our charity work are welcome, as are prospective members.