Record Group 32: Berry College Theatre Department
Inclusive Dates: 1965-2003
Size: 1.33 cubic feet
Provenance: Berry College Theatre Department
Biographical Information: Theatrical productions at the Berry Schools evolved from the activities of early literary societies such as the R.L. Watson Literary Society (formed in 1904), the Ciceronean Literary Socitey (1905), the Oostanaula Literary Society (1905), and the Philomathean Literary Society (1906). The primary activity of these organizations was debate. In 1913, dramatic productions began to emerge from student groups which included a celebration of George Washington's birthday performed by students in the history and English classes, a production of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice by students in the Middle Class (today's equivalent of sophomore and junior class). During that same year another play, Jacqueminot, was produced by a collaborative effort of students and faculty of the Martha Berry School for Girls and the Boys Industrial School . The play was written by English teacher, Isabel N. Rawn, costumes were made by students in the sewing department, and sets were built by students in the workshops at the Boys Industrial School.
Between 1913 and 1925, many performances were produced by literary societies on campus including the Delphics, Athenians, Clionians, and Philomathean. Some of these productions include Miles Standish and Ivanhoe (1914), What Happened in the Kitchen (1915), The Industrial Work at the Berry Schools Illustrated (1925), Rosalie (1926), She Stoops to Conquer (1926), The Obstinate Family (1927), The $100,000 Club Paper (1928), Cinderella O'Reilly (1928) Home Ties (1929), The Eyes of Love (1929), and Julius Caesar (1929).
In 1931, two additional literary societies, the Syrrebs and Georgians, were formed and produced yearly performances until 1963. In 1967, a “theatre laboratory” group, the Berry Players, was formed which was sponsored by the Department of English and Speech and the Department of Music. In 1971, drama was added to the curriculum as a minor, followed in 1974 by a speech/drama major. In 1983, the speech/drama major was changed to speech/theatre. This shift in the curriculum influenced the theatre department whose name changed to the Berry College Theatre Program instead of Berry Players. In 1989, a theatre major replaced the previous speech/theatre major thus forming the Berry College Theatre Company.
Description: This collection contains documentation for theatrical productions performed by the Berry College Players, the Berry Theatre Program, and the Berry College Theatre Company from 1965 – 2003. Materials include programs, news releases, articles, and announcement posters. Programs for the 1986/87 – 2002/03 seasons are in chronological order within the run of production materials. The 1986/87 – 1999/00 seasons are documented only by the grouped programs and do not include a folder for each production. Two recent productions, Blood Wedding (2002) and The Laramie Project (2003) contain additional information including box office reports, meeting schedules, audition contracts, and set designs. Some photographs were removed from the collection and are housed in the Berry College Archives Photograph Collection. Additional information about the Berry College Theatre Department and earlier literary societies can be found in the Berry College Archives Vertical File, Subject Heading – Berry College Theatre and Student Activities – Literary Societies.
Original order was maintained by the processor.
Box 1 – Arranged chronologically by production
Box 2 – Arranged chronologically by production
Box 3, Folders 1-17 – Arranged chronologically by production season
Box 3, Folders 18-31 – Arranged chronologically by production
Box 3 , Folders 32-33 – Subject Files
Box 4 – Production posters, arranged chronologically by production
Miscellaneous: Amy Summerlin processed these papers in 2003. Accession #20030703
Permission to publish must be obtained from the Executive Assistant to the President. Please cite: Item identification, Record Group 33 Berry College Theatre Department, Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.