Chamber theatre is a method of adapting literary works to the stage using a maximal amount of the work's original text and often minimal and suggestive settings.
In chamber theater, narration is included in the performed text and the narrator might be played by multiple actors. Professor Robert S. Breen (1909-1991) introduced "Chamber Theater" to his Oral Interpretation Classes at Northwestern University in 1947.
Northwestern's Professor of Performance Studies Frank Galati, who studied chamber theater with Dr. Breen, has directed highly acclaimed chamber theater productions for the Goodman Theater and Steppenwolf Theater companies in Chicago. Galati's chamber theater adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath won two Tony Awards on Broadway.
One of the most famous and elaborate examples of chamber theatre is David Edgar's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, in which Charles Dickens' characters narrate themselves in third person. Set pieces are carried in and taken away during the performance, rather than between scenes, and objects may be represented in a mimetic manner.
- Cecily O'Neill (27 August 2014). Dorothy Heathcote on Education and Drama: Essential Writings. Routledge. pp. 63–. ISBN 978-1-317-63250-4.
- James Fisher (1 June 2011). Historical Dictionary of Contemporary American Theater: 1930-2010. Scarecrow Press. pp. 286–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7950-8.
- Thomas S. Hischak Professor of Theatre State University of New York at Cortland (12 January 2001). American Theatre : A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969-2000: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969-2000. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 192–. ISBN 978-0-19-535255-9.