Student Theatre Productions Collection, 1912-1966 *JMU Records*

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Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Student Theatre Productions Collection, 1912-1966

Collection No.: UA 0046
Creator: Madison College

Extent: 2 folders; .16 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The Student Theatre Productions Collection, 1912-1966 consists of programs and playbills for student plays at Madison College, including Class Plays and productions sponsored by the Athletic Association.


Administrative Information

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 (

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Student Theatre Productions Collection, 1912-1966, UA 0046, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: Previously housed in Special Collections as a Vertical File labeled Drama - Class + Other Student Plays. Certain items (The Summer Theatre of Madison College presents Thursday the Thirteenth, July 13, 1939, The Play Production Class of Madison College presents An Evening of One-Act Plays, July 19, 1938, and Madison College presents The Hedgerow Theatre in Candida, February 9, 1939) were donated in March 2017 by Erica Borey, records manager at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Bio/Historical Note:

Initially an extracurricular activity, theatre at the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg received extensive participation from students. The first Senior Class Play, "Esmeralda" occurred in 1911 in Assembly Hall in Downtown Harrisonburg as an opening to the commencement activities of that year. From then on, Senior Class Plays became a school tradition and eventually expanded to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Some of these productions coincided with Class Days, which were also originally apart of commencement activities, or were performed between multiple classes, such as the junior class assisted by the freshmen class.

The Athletic Association was established in 1910 with a goal "to promote physical, moral, mental development." The association was overseen by the Department of Physical Education and promoted interclass activities by planning Field Day exercises and May Day celebrations. They also presented charitable entertainment events. The association sponsored theatre productions until at least the 1940s. Today, the Athletic Association has evolved into the Division of Athletics that oversees athletic programs and sports at James Madison University.

Scope and Content:

The Student Theatre Productions Collection, 1912-1966 consists of programs and playbills for student plays at the State Normal School and Madison College. The vast majority of playbills are from Class Plays, productions put on by various classes of students throughout the decades. Other items in the collection are playbills from productions not directly associated with the any particular class as well as playbills from productions sponsored by the Athletic Association and the Y.W.CA. Photocopies of news articles about the productions from the 1910s are also included.

Noteworthy items include: a 1916 Shakespeare Pageant program, a 1939 playbill of Thursday the Thirteenth signed by the cast members, a 1925 playbill of The Junior Minstrels, and a 1927 junior class playbill of A Barrage of Funfeaturing an image of blackface.


Arranged topically in two folders in chronological order.


Crowley, L. Sean. James Madison University: 1908-1909 to 1958-1959; An Annotated, Historical Timeline. 2006. Accessed June 6, 2018.

Related Material:

School of Theatre and Dance Records, 1930-2011 (bulk 1981-1993), UA 0045, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA


Folder Title
Box : Folder
Student Play Programs and Playbills, 1912-1966, undated
News Articles, undated

Compiled by: Selena St. Andre, June 2018