Stratford Players Collection

SP 98-0211

JMU Historical Collection, Special Collections

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Compiled February, 1998 by Whitney Anne Naman

Edited June, 2008

Scope and Content

The Stratford Players Collection consists of 2 and 1/2 Hollinger boxes, 1 half size legal Hollinger box, and one oversize Hollinger box containing information from 1914-1996, including folders of photos, news clippings, letters, and related material, as well as scrapbooks, an account ledger, two rehearsal scripts, a book of press policy, and copies of the yearbook pages dedicated to Stratford from 1914, 1919, 1920, 1943-1947.

The Stratford Players is a theater organization composed of James Madison University students with the goal of mounting theatrical productions for the education and entertainment of participants and audiences. The Stratford Collection is a compilation of the materials reflecting the first 84 years of Stratford's existence. A flood in 1994 destroyed some of the theater offices including many of the materials stored there. The remaining materials were donated to the Special Collections of Carrier Library in 1997 by unanimous agreement of all Stratford members and the advisor Dr. Thomas King.

The Stratford Literary Society was formed by students in 1914, making Stratford the longest continuing campus organization at James Madison University. The original colors were pink and green and the flower was the primrose. The motto was Shakespeare's quote, "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players." The group's initial focus was the reading of theatrical works. The name apparently was derived from Stratford-on-Avon, which was William Shakespeare's birthplace. The original board positions for Stratford were President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Critic.

With the help of the Stratford advisor James C. Johnston, in 1919 Stratford Literary Society became Stratford Dramatic Society. The group's focus changed to the actual production of theatrical works. In 1952 the Stratford Dramatic Society adopted a more informal title and became known as the Stratford Players. In 1960 the group had its first male President. Stratford greatly benefited from the building of the Duke Fine Arts Center in 1968. Stratford Players and other interested students currently participate in shows produced by the Theater Department as well as produce works in the Experimental Theater.

Stratford advisors have proved to be a very important part of Stratford's progress. Some influential leaders include James C. Johnston (the first advisor), Dr. Mary Lattimer (for whom the main stage theater is named), James Link (early 1960's), Nancy O'Hare (late 1960's), Phil Grayson (1970's), and current advisor Tom King.

The group currently produces works in the Experimental Theater (in Theater II on Main Street in Harrisonburg VA), and has an office off of the production room of that theater. The board and members meet every other week to discuss theater policy and upcoming productions. The group also sponsors visiting scholars, holds seminars, funds productions, and plans social events. Stratford representatives join the professors of the theater department in selecting experimental programs each season.


The collection was placed on deposit by contract signed by Jane Rupp, Stratford's president, on September 25, 1997.


This collection was processed by Whitney Anne Naman, Stratford historian and a theater student at James Madison University from 1994-1998.


Box 1
Scrapbook 1, large black and red book covering the years 1932-1967. This book contains, but is not limited to, minutes to meetings, show programs, cards, letters, season information, and a 1979 note from JMU student Steve Bridges who compiled five books of Stratford history. (See Box 2 for those Scrapbooks)

Box 2 (Oversize Manuscript Box)
Scrapbook 2, covers from 1962-1963 and is Black and Gold. It contains photographs, programs, tickets, advertisements, show pictures, decorative masks, and a rehearsal schedule for the Glass Menagerie.

Scrapbook 3, red, covers 1967-1968 and contains programs, show information, invitations, map to cast party, news clippings, photos, letters, and information on accusation of violating campus regulations.

Scrapbook 4, in folder, contains programs, articles, pictures, audition sheets, show posters, and show information from 1970-1971.

Scrapbook 5, contains labeled pictures, show information, programs, news articles, and posters from 1982-1983.

Account ledger 1, small gray and red record book that covers the years 1966-1974. Includes minutes from meetings, suggestions to change Stratford's color, flower and motto, dues information, itemized budget information, pin invitations, audition announcements, and a cast list for the 1967 production of "All's Well that Ends Well".

Folder 1, Oversized pictures from JMU production of "Death of A Salesman" featuring Professor Thomas Arthur, and a 1970 production of "Private Lives."

Box 3
Folders 1 - 5 contain the five scrapbooks compiled in 1979 by JMU student Steve Bridges. These folders contain, but are not limited to photos, news clippings from The Breeze and the Daily News Record, seasonal information, audition information, programs, posters, advertisements, and news letters from 1932-1976.

Box 4
Folder 1, Yearbook Pages: Photocopies of the 1914, 1919, 1920, 1943-1978 pages dedicated to Stratford from the school yearbook. Compiled by JMU student Whitney Naman in 1997.
Folder 2, Mounted Photographs
Folder 3, Press Policy compiled in 1975 by JMU student Jeff Daily.
Folder 4, Material from the 1930's.
Folder 5, Undated photos from before 1970.
Folder 6, 1960, "Death Takes a Holiday" correspondence and miscellaneous
Folder 7, News clippings and Miscellaneous, 1970-1976.

Box 5
Folder 1, News clippings and Miscellaneous, 1977.
Folder 2, News clippings, 1978.
Folder 3, News clippings, 1979-1980.
Folder 4, Dinner Theater News clippings, Miscellaneous, and photos
Folder 5, Children's Theater News clippings and photos
Folder 6, Rehearsal script from "Pendadragon Institute".
Folder 7, Rehearsal script from "Wait until Dark ".
Folder 8, Photographs, 1962-1963, "USA" and "Death Takes a Holiday".

Folder 9, Photographs, 1968 "Outward Bound".
Folder 10, Photographs, 1968 "Outward Bound".
Folder 11, Photographs, 1969 "Oliver".
Folder 12, Photographs, 1969 "Oliver".
Folder 13, Photographs, 1970 "Harry Falsetto"
Folder 14, Photographs, 1970 "Tonight at 8:30".
Folder 15, Photographs, 1971 "Dark of the Moon".
Folder 16, Photographs, 1973 "Blithe Spirit" and "Summer and Smoke".
Folder 17, Photographs, 1974-1976.
Folder 18, Photographs, 1976 "Importance of Being Earnest".
Folder 19, Photographs, 1976-1977 "Woyzeck" and "A Delicate Balance".
Folder 20, Photographs, 1977 from "Twelfth Night" and "The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds".
Folder 21, Photographs, 1978 "A Man for All Seasons".
Folder 22, Photographs, 1979 "Henry IV pt 1".
Folder 23, Photographs, 1980 "Man of La Mancha".
Folder 24, Photographs, 1980-1982.

List of Plays
The following list of plays can be used as a resource when using the collection. The list may not contain every play produced by JMU, but it does represent most of the productions mentioned in the collection. Dividing the plays by years is difficult in that only clues to Stratford's history remain. Allow a two-year margin of error when looking for information on a particular play.

1932/33 "The Blossoming of Mary Anne," "The Charm School"
1936/37 "Mrs. Pim Passes By"
1937/38 "The Ninth Guest," "Glee Plays the Game," "The Torch Bearers," "Every Woman"
1938/39 "Sorority Phantom," "I'll Leave it to You," "The Fortune Teller"
1939/40 "Ladies in Waiting," "Our Town"
1940/41 "Alls Well that Ends," "What a Life"
1941/42 "Ladies in Retirement," "Stage Door"
1942/43 "The Princess Marries the Page," "Alice Sit by the Fire"
1944 "Brief Music"
1945 "The Romantic Young Lady"
1946 "The Clock," "Lavender and Red Peppers," "Shubert Alley"
1947 "Fortinbras in Plain Clothes," "Kind Lady"
1948 "Ladies of the Jury," A Half Hour," "Suppressed Desires," "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas," "Theatre of the Soul," "Thank you, Doctor"
1949 "Ice Bound," "Taming of the Shrew"
1950 "Dear Brutus," "Fashion"
1951 "Moor Born," "Cheaper by the Dozen"
1952 "Night Must Fall," "Blithe Spirit"
1953 "Taming of the Shrew," "The Silver Whistle"
1954 "The Night of January 16th," "I Remember Mama"
1955 "Suspect," "Stage Door"
1956 "Summer House," "Bernardino"
1957 "Outward Bound"
1958 "Mary Stuart," "Mary of Scotland," "Arsenic and Old Lace"
1959 "Chalk Garden"
1960 "Our Town," "Mad Woman of Chaillot"
1961 "Diary of Anne Frank," "Antigone," "Summer and Smoke"
1962 "Skin of Our Teeth," "Everyman," "The Birds", "The House of Bernarda Alba"
1963 "USA"
1964 "Measures Taken," "Waiting for Godot," "The Bald Soprano," "The Maids"
1965 "The Glass Menagerie"
1966 "Death Takes A Holiday"
1967 "Rashoman," "Prelude to a Tragedy," "The Male Animal," "Barefoot in the Park"
1968 "Idiots Delight"
1969 "Outward Bound," "Three Sisters"
1970 "Odd Couple," "The Mad Woman of Challoit," "Good News," "How Green was my 10%," "Dark of the Moon," "The Hairy Falsetto," "Tonight at 8:30"
1971 "The Taming of the Shrew," "The Rivals," "Stop the World I Want to Get Off," "Private Lives," "Ten Nights in a Barroom"
1972 "Lion in Winter," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," "Lysistrata," "You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running"
1973 "The Boys in the Band," "Our Town," "Anna Christie," "Lovers and Other Strangers," "Plaza Suite"
1974 "Cabaret", "Blithe Spirit," "Summer and Smoke," "Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead"
1975 "King Lear," "What the Butler Saw," "The Drunkard," "How to Succeed in Business without really Trying," "Carnival," "The Pursuit of Happiness," "Pots, Pans, and the Piper," "Hair," "Comings and Goings"
1976 "The Pursuit of Happiness," "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail," "Captain Jones of the Horse Marines," "The Diary of Adam and Eve," Apple Tree," "Come Sweet Death," "One Man's Vision of a Dream," "Boccaccio," "The Wonder Hat," "Hot L Baltimore," "Skiddaddle Tales," "Guys and Dolls," "Death of a Salesman," "The Rainmaker," "In Performance"
1977 "The Importance of Being Earnest," "Woyzeck," "Cinderella," "A Delicate Balance," "Twelfth Night," "Endgame," "Miss Reardon Drinks a Little," "Menachmi," "Happy Birthday Wanda Jean"
1978 "Heracles," "The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds," "La Perichole," "Mouse Trap," "Bus Stop," "Fancies," "The Runner Stumbles," "The Empty Cradle," "Loot," "Bump in the Night," "Bables," "The Sanguinery Chasm," "A Man for All Seasons," "Scapino," "La Ronde"
1979 "Of Mice and Men," "Henry IV," "Oklahoma," "Down the Line," "Fever"
1980 "Black Comedy," "Man of La Mancha," "The Chalk Garden," "Punch Henry's Jazz Funeral," "Pendragon"
1982 and 1983 "Macbeth," "Marriage of Figaro," "Knuckles," "Bent," "Shop Talk," "Look Back in Anger," "Out of the Reach of Children," "Waiting for Godot," "Taming of the Shrew," "Lion in Winter," "The Diviners," "Comedy by Feiffer Allen," "Living Fantasy," "Bird Bath," "Diary of Anne Frank," "Hedda Gabler," "Hay Fever," "Wiley and the Hairy Man," "Lone Star"
1984 and 1985 "Crimes of the Heart," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "The Country Wife," "Buried Child," "Under the Milkwood," "Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf," "Waiting," "Trimmings," "Album," "Ruins," "Narrow Road to the Deep North," "Come Back to the five and Dime Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean," "Death of a Salesman," "Porch," "Abroad," "Knock Knock," "The Arkansas Bear," "Having a Wonderful Time, Wish you were Here," "Hamlet," "The Boyfriend," "Children of a Lesser God," "Rabbits," "Lion in Winter," "Hedda Gabler," "Diviners"

Reviews for each of the plays produced here at JMU from the 1980s to today are kept in alphabetical order in the Office of Theatre and Dance in Theatre II. They are a wonderful resource when trying to find information on a play in that they are a more thorough collection. Many of those reviews will correspond to plays mentioned in the collection.