A Guide to the Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983

Collection Number UA 0029

Compiled by: Whitney Anne Naman, 1998; Sarah Roth-Mullet, February, May 2018

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Title: Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983
Collection No.: UA 0029
Creator: Stratford Players
Extent: 5 boxes; 1.82 cubic feet
Language:  English
Abstract: The Stratford Players Records is comprised of record books, scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, rehearsal scripts, programs and playbills, and copies of yearbook pages, documenting the activities of the Stratford Players (formerly known as the Stratford Literary Society and the Stratford Dramatic Club), from 1914-1983.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.
Use Restrictions: Copyright for Official University records is held by James Madison University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu). 
Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983, UA 0029, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Acquisition Information: The collection was placed on deposit by contract signed by Jane Rupp, then-president of the Stratford Players, on September 25, 1997. The program and playbill file weas added from a vertical file in May 2018.
Processing Information: The original finding aid was created in 1998 by Whitney Anne Naman, a theater student at James Madison University from 1994-1998, and assigned the collection number SP 98-0211. The finding aid was edited in June 2008 by Special Collections staff. In February 2018 the finding aid was revised, a new collection number was assigned, and the collection was updated to include record books and other materials originally held in collection SU 93-0031, “Students: Memorabilia and General.”

Administrative History:
The Stratford Literary Society was formed in 1914 when members of the Lanier and Lee Literary Societies at the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg joined to form an organization dedicated to the dramatic arts. At the time of founding, the organization’s primary focus was on reading theatrical works. In 1919, the Stratford Literary Society was reconstituted to form the Stratford Dramatic Club, or Sigma Delta Chi, and began to hold yearly performances at the New Virginia Theater in downtown Harrisonburg. On April 4, 1950, the group changed its name to Stratford Players.

The Stratford Players – and theater in general – was initially an extracurricular activity, supervised by faculty in the English department. However, when the Department of Speech and Drama was established in 1966, the Stratford Players came under the direction of theater faculty. In 1986, the Department of Theatre and Dance was formed in the College of Fine Arts, where the Stratford Players is now housed. Though the Stratford Players is not independent from the Department of Theatre and Dance, its membership is open to majors and non-majors alike, and members have a voice in play selection and budget decisions.

The Stratford Players have had many faculty advisors over the years, including: James C. Johnston (1919-1921), Ruth Hudson (1921-1965), Argus Tressider (1935-1939), Leland Shubert (1939-1943), Ainslee Harris (1944-1945), Dr. Mary E. Lattimer (1946-1960), James O. Link (1960-1964), Nancy O’Hare (1964), and Horace Burr (1965-1973). In 1973, Stratford Players leadership changed from a single advisor to a team of faculty, which in the early 1970s, included Allen Lyndrup, Thomas L. King, Pam Johnson, Phil S. Grayson and Roger Hall.

Scope and Content:
The Stratford Players Records is comprised of record books, scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, rehearsal scripts, and copies of yearbook pages, documenting the activities of the Stratford Players (formerly known as the Stratford Literary Society and the Stratford Dramatic Club), from 1914-1983.

The following plays are mentioned in the collection. This is not an exhaustive list, and it is advised to include a two-year margin of error when looking for information on a particular play.

1930
 BAB
1931
 When Grandma Pulls the Strings, Modesty, 
1932-1933
 The Blossoming of Mary Anne, The Charm School
1936
 The Late Christopher Bean, Mrs. Pim Passes By
1937-1938
 Danse Macabre, The Maker of Dreams, Lady Luck, The Silver Cord 
1938
 The Stolen Prince, My Lady Dreams, Rehearsal, The Torch Bearers, Every Woman
1937-1938
 The Ninth Guest, Glee Plays the Game
1939
 Sorority Phantom, I'll Leave it to You, The Fortune Teller
1939-1940
 Ladies in Waiting, Our Town
1940-1941
 Alls Well that Ends, What a Life, Love in the Curriculum
1941-1942
 Ladies in Retirement, Stage Door, Madison Follies of 1942
1942-1943
 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, Outward Bound
1958
 Mary Stuart, Mary of Scotland, Arsenic and Old Lace, Theatre of the Soul, 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
 The Glass Menagerie, Measures Taken, Waiting for Godot, The Bald Soprano, The Maids
1965
 Death Takes a Holiday
1966
 Ways and Means
1967
 Rashoman, Prelude to a Tragedy, The Male Animal, Barefoot in the Park, All's Well That Ends Well, Idiot's 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
1982-1983
 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


Arrangement: 
The collection is arranged in two series:

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1920-1980

Series 2: Photographs, 1920-1982

Bibliography:
Smith, August, “JMU Centennial Celebration – The Stratford Players,” James Madison University Centennial Celebration: Madison Century 1908-2008. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.jmu.edu/centennialcelebration/stratford.shtml.

Contents:
Series 1: Administrative Files, 1920-1983
This series is comprised of materials that record the routine activities of the Stratford Players and document its history. The record books include meeting minutes, agenda items, dues and accounting information, membership lists, itemized budget information, cast lists and various iterations of the organization’s constitution.

The scrapbooks contain playbills, photographs, newspaper clippings and promotional material documenting performances that occurred in a given year. Scrapbook 1962-1963 contains photographs, programs, tickets, advertisements, show pictures, decorative masks, and a rehearsal schedule for the Glass Menagerie. Scrapbook 1967-1968 contains programs, show information, invitations, a map to a cast party, news clippings, photographs, letters, and information on accusations of violating campus regulations. Scrapbook 1970-1971 contains programs, articles, photographs, audition sheets, show posters, and show information. Scrapbook 1982-1983 contains labeled photographs, show information, programs, news articles, and posters.

The Bridges Scrapbook, 1932-1976, was created in 1978 by JMU student Steven R. Bridges, the chair of the Library Committee of the Stratford Players. It contains photographs, news clippings from The Breeze and the Daily News-Record, seasonal performance information, audition information, programs, posters, advertisements, and news letters from 1932-1976.

The news clippings and yearbooks files contain photocopies of articles about Stratford Players’ performances and activities.

Folder Title

Box : Folder

Record book, 1920-1932

1:1

Record book, 1932-1967

1:2

Record book, 1966-1974

1:3

Correspondence and papers, 1927-1936

1:4

Correspondence, 1960

1:5

Theater programs and playbills, 1931-1979

1:6

Dinner Theater papers, 1980

1:7

Scrapbook, 1962-1963

2:1

Scrapbook, 1965-1966

2:2

Scrapbook, 1970-1971

2:3

Scrapbook, 1982-1983

2:4

Bridges Scrapbook, 1932-1963

3:1

Bridges Scrapbook, 1963-1970

3:2

Bridges Scrapbook, 1970-1973

3:3

Bridges Scrapbook, 1974-1976

3:4

Press Policy book, 1975

3:5

Rehearsal script, Pendragon Institute, 1980

3:6

Rehearsal Script, Wait Until Dark, undated

3:7

Yearbook clippings, 1914-1978

4:1

Newspaper clippings, 1935-1937

4:2

Newspaper clippings, 1960

4:3

Newspaper clippings, 1970-1976

4:4

Newspaper clippings, 1977

4:5

Newspaper clippings, 1978

4:6

Newspaper clippings, 1979-1980

4:7

Children’s Theater Newspaper clippings, 1975-1980

4:8

Dinner Theater Newspaper clippings, 1977-1980

4:9

Series 2: Photographs, 1920-1982
The photographs document Stratford Players performance preparation and events.

Photographs, undated, before 1970s

5:1

Photographs, 1962-1963

5:2

Photographs, 1968 (5x7)

5:3

Photographs, 1968 (8x10)

5:4

Photographs, Oliver, 1969

5:5

Contact Sheets, 1969

5:6

Photographs, 1970

5:7

Photographs, 1971

5:8

Photographs, 1973

5:9

Photographs, 1974-1976

5:10

Photographs, 1976-1977

5:11

Photographs, 1977

5:12

Photographs, 1978

5:13

Photographs, 1979

5:14

Photographs, Man of La Mancha, 1980

5:15

Photographs, 1982

5:16

Photograph, Death of a Salesman, 1976

2:5