School of Theatre and Dance Records, 1930-2011 (bulk 1981-1993) *JMU Records*
Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Title: School of Theatre and Dance Records, 1930-2011 (bulk 1981-1993)
Collection No.: UA 0045
Creator: James Madison University. School of Theatre and Dance
Extent: 4 folders; .32 cubic feet
Abstract: The School of Theatre and Dance Records, 1930-2011 (bulk 1981-1993) consists of playbills, programs and curriculum brochures relating to theatre and dance performances at and sponsored by James Madison University
Access Restrictions: Collection is 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. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], School of Theatre and Dance Records, 1930-2011 (bulk 1981-1993), UA 0045, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Acquisition Information: Formerly housed as Vertical Files in Special Collections, labeled Dance, Theatre,
and Drama - Guest Performances.
Theatre at James Madison University was initially an extracurricular activity, with the Stratford Players serving as the most popular student drama club. In 1966, the Department of Speech and Drama was established and in the following year, 1967, the Latimer-Shaeffer Theatre opened in the Duke Fine Arts Center (now Duke Hall). The theatre was named after former theatre director and Stratford Players advisor, Mary Latimer Cordner and former music faculty Edna T. Shaeffer. In 1973, Thomas H. Arthur was hired at Madison College to transform the theatre program from an extracurricular activity into a college department. Arthur soon hired Allen Lyndrup, Thomas L. King, Pam Johnson, Phil S. Grayson and Roger Hall as faculty members. Arthur and King worked together to construct and establish the Wampler Experimental Theatre, also known as Theatre II, in 1974, which gave a home to productions written and directed by students.
In 1977 King, Arthur, and Grayson requested permission to develop a new theatre program in addition to Theatre II. Through a partnership with Food Service, the Dinner Theatre was established in Gibbons Hall to provide summer patrons with a buffet followed by a play featuring students and professional performers. The Dinner Theatre soon became a popular summer activity in Harrisonburg, drawing theatre-goers from around Virginia. The Dinner Theatre also provided prospective students and families, along with summer session students, with summer entertainment. In 1978 the Dinner Theatre sent a troupe to Italy and Germany to perform for the USO and by its second season the program became fully professional, welcoming JMU faculty, staff, students, and non-JMU personnel to contribute to the Dinner Theatre. According to Arthur, "[The Dinner Theatre] was very important to the growth of theater and dance [at JMU] because it gave us greater visibility." The Dinner Theatre ultimately ran for 17 years, ending in 1993.
In 1986, the Department of Theatre and Dance was formed in the College of Fine Arts, now the College of Arts and Letters. It remained in the College until 2015 when the establishment of the College of Visual and Performing Arts was approved. Today, the School of Theatre and Dance focuses on training and educating artists, scholars, and teachers in the traditions and current practices of dance, theatre, and musical theatre. The School puts on around thirty performances a year, including four theatre and three dance productions during their main stage season.
Scope and Content:
The School of Theatre and Dance Records, 1930-2011 (bulk 1981-1993) consists of playbills, programs and curriculum brochures relating to theatre and dance performances at and sponsored by James Madison University. Some early items are dated before the School of Theatre and Dance was officially established. The collection includes items from the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg, Madison College, and James Madison University. Several clubs and theatre companies are mentioned throughout, including, but not limited to: The Madison College Modern Dance Club, the Repertory Touring Company of JMU, the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the Coburn Players, the Margaret Webster Shakespeare Company, the National Players, the Barter Theatre, and the Hedgerow Theatre.
The collection is arranged alphabetically.
James Madison University. "JMU Centennial Celebration – JMU Dinner Theatre." jmu.edu.
http://www.jmu.edu/centennialcelebration/dinnertheatre.shtml. Accessed June 5, 2018.
James Madison University. "Theatre and Dance Overview." jmu.edu. https://www.jmu.edu/theatredance/about/index.shtml.
Accessed June 5, 2018.
James Madison University. "JMU Centennial Celebration – The Stratford Players." jmu.edu
https://www.jmu.edu/centennialcelebration/stratford.shtml. Accessed June 5, 2018.
Edna T. Shaeffer Retirement Letters, 1940, 1956, SC 0061 Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983, UA 0029, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Student Theatre Productions Collection, 1912-1966, UA 0046, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Virginia Theatre & New Virginia Theatre Playbills, 1914-1924, SC 0080, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.
Box : Folder
|Dance, 1930-2006 (bulk 1984-1988), undated||
|Dinner Theatre Programs and Playbills, 1981-1993, undated||
|Theatre, circa 1988-2011, undated||
|Theatre - Guest Performances, 1930-1967, undated||
Compiled by: Selena St. Andre