ua609
University Archives
Collection ID: ua609
online content

Department of Theatre Records, 1948-1984

Collection description

Summary

Creator:
State University of New York at Albany. Theatre Department.
Abstract:
Originally the Department of Speech and Dramatic Art, it encompassed the disciplines of Dramatic Art; Rhetoric and Public Address; Radio, Television and Film; and Speech Pathology and Audiology. The Department is responsible for the operation of the State University Theatre, is closely affiliated with the Northeastern New York Speech Center, and is the sponsor of a number of course-related student organizations
Extent:
7.167 cubic ft.
Language:
English and English
Preferred citation:
Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Department of Theatre Records Papers, 1948-1978. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).

Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Terms Of Use:

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Background

Scope and Content:

The records of the Department of Theatre consist of the general Subject Files and a separate series titled Productions. The general Subject Files of the Theatre Department contain correspondence of the Department Chair, memoranda, reports, committee minutes, photographs, publicity materials, as well as documents used in the planning and expansion of the department. Also contained in the files are student papers submitted to Professor Paul B. Pettit. The series entitled Productions consists of programs, scripts, and other production material from plays produced by the Theatre Department.

In addition to the routine administrative concerns of an academic department the files contain extensive documentation of the development of the department's summer theatre program, which was originally founded in 1952 as the Arena Summer Theatre. The program was suspended in 1968, and revived as the Summer Theatre, under which name it continues to this day. The collection also contains early correspondence files relating to the formation of the Children's Theatre founded at the University in 1965, subsequently the Empire State Youth Theatre Institute of SUNY, headquartered at the New York State Performing Arts Center. The Empire State Youth Theatre Institute was reaffiliated with the University in 1989, and changed it's name to the New York State Theatre Institute in 1990. The files also contain the correspondence relating to the New York State Community Theatre Association, 1953-1971.

Biographical / Historical:

The Department of Theatre at the State University of New York at Albany has its roots in a course entitled Dramatics, first offered by the English Department of the New York State Teachers College in 1915. This course emphasized theory and practice of amateur stage presentation with production of at least one standard play each half year [New York State College For Teachers, Annual Circular and Announcement, 1915-1916, p.60]. Courses in Drama and Theatre continued to be offered by the English Department until 1963 when the Department of Speech and Dramatic Art was established, chaired by Paul B. Pettit.

The Department of Speech and Dramatic Art encompassed the disciplines of Dramatic Art; Rhetoric and Public Address; Radio, Television and Film; and Speech Pathology and Audiology. In addition, it was responsible for the operation of the State University Theatre, was closely affiliated with the Northeastern New York Speech Center, and was the sponsor of a number of course-related student organizations [State University of New York at Albany, General Catalogue, 1963-1964, p.221].

In 1969, the Department of Speech and Dramatic Art was dissolved and the Department of Theatre was established. Recognizing that the "lively arts" drew strength from past endeavors and validity from the contemporary ethic, the department sought to inter-relate the literature, history and criticism of the theatre with an extensive program in production. The State University Theatre and the Center for Theatre Services, both located in the university's Performing Arts Center, are functions of the department [State University of New York at Albany, Undergraduate Bulletin, 1969-1970, p.124].

Department Chairs

Paul B. Pettit, 1963/64-1970/71

Jarka Burian, 1970/71-1973/74

James Symons, 1974/75-1976/77

Jarka Burian, 1977/78

Albert Asermely, 1978/79-1983/84

Jerome Hanley, 1984/85-1987/88

Langdon Brown, 1988/89-

J. Kevin Doolen, 2004/05

Acquisition information:

These records were transferred to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives by the Department of Theatre. Some playbills were acquired independently by the University Archives.

Processing information:

Processed in 1991 by Christine Russell (May 22, 1991).

Collection inventory

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Restrictions:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
Terms of Access:
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation:
Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Department of Theatre Records Papers, 1948-1978. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).