Christopher Eric Speeth started his theatrical training with his three brothers under K.Elmo Lowe and Esther Mullen at the Cleveland Playhouse where he performed in many plays on stage, radio and television. He appeared in Carson McCuller’s Member of the Wedding at The Karamu House with his brother Jeffrey who had a leading role alongside Ethel Waters. Later, at Kenyon College he won a dramatic competition by directing Wozzeck.
Mr. Speeth went to Philadelphia where he started the Philadelphia Theatre for Children and became known for staging hundreds of classical plays ranging from early Greek Satyr Plays to contemporary plays by Samuel Beckett, Ionesco, Jonathan Kleinbard and Chandler Brossard together with a staff of fifteen people in the old Drew-Barrymore House which later became the Friends Neighborhood Guild. During the Sputnik scare of the 60’s, he worked with Jerome Bruner of Harvard University in developing educational materials for children.
He studied film under Solomon Wishnepolsky (Worth) at the Annenberg Center of the University of Pennsylvania. He subsequently produced many experimental shorts and documentaries including:
- Motion Teaser - an experimental dance film with Roberta Pixer in which the camera danced along with the dancer.
- Up Madison Avenue - a bus ride uptown
- Sugar - a film on Diabetes for the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
- Signs of Life - a film on the work of Venturi & Rauch for the National Endowment for the Arts
- Mother, Mother, I am Ill - on the delivery of healthcare to poor families - for CBS.
- The Grand Old Lady of Locust Street - for ABC.
- Dona Nobis Pacem - a film on the peace movement which was cited at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence and the Robert Flaherty film seminars.
The Festival dei Popoli in Florence and the Robert Flaherty film seminars also screened his documentary, Eakins on the American painter, Thomas Eakins. Eakins was given rave reviews in Variety by Gerald Pratley after a screening at the Stratford Festival in Ontario. Eakins is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Documentary footage taken by Mr. Speeth has appeared on many TV specials including most recently America’s Most Wanted, Final Justice, & NightLine.
“Speeth has lifted the horizon to the loftiest levels of literary and artistic achievement and has made an exemplary success of it.” --Time Magizine
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