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Pilgrimage Play in Hollywood

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Pilgrimage Play

Mrs. Christine Witherill Stevenson started the Pilgrimage Play after she withdrew from the Hollywood Bowl, in 1920.  She was intent on promoting her religious plays.  She purchased a 29-acre canyon across the Cahuenga Pass from the Hollywood Bowl.  After building a crude structure, which was later to develop into the Pilgrimage Play Theater. The first performance of the play was held on June 27, 1920, with Henry Herbert starring as Jesus of Nazareth. Performances were given every summer in the original structure, until it was destroyed by fire on October 24, 1929. 

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New Pilgrimage Play Theater

A new theater, with a seating capacity of 1,312 was built of concrete in ancient Judean architecture and the play reopened in 1931.  The Pilgrimage Play continued until 1940 when war conditions caused brief interruptions.  During the war, the dressing room sections were converted into dormitories, where hundreds of servicemen slept during their visit to Hollywood.

 

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Memorial Cross

When Mrs. Stevenson passed away in 1922, Hollywood was stunned.  As a memorial to this fine lady, four of Hollywood’s residents caused a 40-foot lighted cross to be erected atop the hill alongside the Pilgrimage Theater. 

All the Pilgrimage Play photos can ve viewed and are available for purchase on the hollywoodphotographs.com web site 

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