Department of Theatre Records
The department to theater was established in 1929, as the Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts. Students could obtain three degrees from the department when it first opened; Dramatic Arts, Speech A (public speaking) and Speech B (Oral interpretation). The University Civic Theater left the university in 1953 having officially separated themselves from the school financially in 1951. The department continued on as academic unit at the university until it was cut in 1984 due to university wide budget cuts. The departmet was eventually reinstated and is a current academic unit at the University.
Collection contains correspondence, playbills, programs, photographs, productions, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, film negatives, scripts, staging directions, brochures, annual reports, correspondence, meeting minutes, memos, costume designs, props, administrative files, press releases, and academic accreditation related to the Department of Theatre at the University of Denver from 1951 through 1982.
- Other: 1934-1984
- University of Denver. Department of Theatre (Organization)
Biographical / Historical
The department to theater was established in 1929, as the Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts although the first classes were not offered until the 1930 academic year. Students could obtain three degrees from the department when it first opened: Dramatic Arts, Speech A (public speaking) and Speech B (Oral interpretation).
The department was first headed by Dr. Maurice Gnesin who also served as the Director of the University Civic Theater. He was paid a starting salary of $5000. The department shared facilities with the newly created theater company, though the two were run as almost completely separate entities.
In 1927 Mrs. Verner Zee Reed donated $100,000 towards the building of Margery Reed Mayo Hall named for her daughter. The building was completed in 1929 and contains a theater whose use was shared by the University Civic Theater, the Drama Club, and the newly created department of theater. The creation of the University Civic Theater, and the building of the Little Theater to be used by the department, was largely possible the donations of several prominent Denver residents including Mrs. Verner Z Reed, Miss Florence Martin, Miss Helen Bonfils, and Mr. James H. Causey. At the start of the building project Mr. Causes donated an initial $19, 262.10 to the university for stage and electrical equipment. He also agreed to underwrite the budget for the Little Theatre stating:
“It is my understanding that so far as my relationship is concerned, a budget will be prepared for the expenses of the Little Theater and that the University would contribute the theatre, through the Dramatic Department, without any cost, and that in additional they would probably pay some nominal amount toward the budget covering the services of Dr. Gnesin because of his heading up the Dramatic Department of the University.”
The University Civic Theater left the university in 1953 having officially separated themselves from the school financially in 1951. The department continued on as academic unit at the university until it was cut in 1984 due to university-wide budget cuts. In 1986, the department of English began offering a theatre major. The theatre department was eventually reinstated and is a current academic unit at the University.
62.75 Linear Feet (79 containers)
The collection is unarranged.
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