CAMERI (The Chamber Theater) , Tel Aviv repertory theater founded in 1944 on the initiative of Josef *Millo primarily in reaction against the stagnant expressionist style then current in the major existing theaters. Millo's associates were mostly native-born "sabras" and their aim was threefold: to bring to the Hebrew theater new West European drama, particularly of an avant-garde nature, together with up-to-date methods of acting and production; to provide an outlet for talented actors who had not been absorbed by the existing theaters; and to create a theater that would reflect the attitudes and behavior of their own generation. The first productions were foreign works, since no original Hebrew plays were available, but the translations were into modern idiomatic Hebrew, the acting style was natural, and the standard of production was high. The first play to score a notable success was Goldoni's A Servant of Two Masters, which Millo himself translated into rhyming couplets and also directed. In 1948, the Cameri presented Moshe *Shamir's adaptation of his own novel Hu Halakh ba-Sadot ("He Walked in the Fields"). Its hero, a young kibbutz member, and soldier in the War of Independence, was the first truly indigenous character on the Hebrew stage. Other Hebrew playwrights who had plays commissioned or performed by the Cameri included Nathan *Shaham, Yigal *Mossinsohn, Lea *Goldberg, Nathan *Alterman, Yossef Bar-Yossef, Nissim *Aloni, and Binyamin *Galai. In time, Millo was joined as a director by Gershon Plotkin, Shemuel Bunim, and Leonard Schach. In 1950, the Cameri established a school for acting headed by Yemima Millo, but this closed down three years later. A children's theater, established in 1964 under the direction of the actress Orna *Porat, proved more enduring.
In 1961 the Cameri acquired new premises, which gave it an auditorium seating 890 spectators, but it still had to struggle with a severe financial crisis. From 1970 it received a subsidy from Tel Aviv municipality, which recognized it as the municipal theater. Like the other major theater companies it presented its performances not only in Tel Aviv but throughout the country. In the first 25 years of its existence, the theater staged 160 productions. In 1964 the Cameri was registered as an official company owned by 13 actors and directors, with salaries determined by a committee composed of two of the directors and two outsiders. The theater's artistic direction was in the hands of the directors Plotkin and Bunim and the theater critic Dan *Miron. Leading actors of the Cameri have included Josef Millo, Hannah *Meron, Yosef *Yadin, Avraham Ben-Yosef, Orna Porat, and Batia Lancet.
In 2003 the Cameri moved to a new home, with three large halls. Through 2004 it put on 400 plays in front of 20 million people. The theater presented up to ten new plays a year, reaching an audience of 600,000 and representing Israel around the world. Its troupe consisted of 80 actors, and well-known directors from Israel and abroad direct its plays. Five of the Cameri's actors have received the Israel Prize.