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Department of Theatre and Dance records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RG-21-04-01

Scope and Contents

This collection includes brochures, press releases, and programs, and photographs from the Ball State University Department of Theatre and Dance primarily documenting departmental theatre productions. The collection also includes material documenting the careers of alumni and faculty, and includes selected student theses and papers. Programs from performances date from the 1930s to the 2000s.

The Subject Files contain the correspondence and history from Children's Theatre, Studio Theatre, Little Shoestring Theatre, and the Opera Workshop. The Opera Workshop subseries also contains the programs and photos of the opera workshop performances.

The Programs and Publications series contains departmental brochures, theatre magazines, promotional materials, and some programs for offstage productions.

The series Production Records and Photographs contains correspondence, photographs, promotional material, audition applications and programs for the major productions of the Theatre Department. The productions are organized chronologically from 1936 to 2009.


  • 1936-2015

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Administrative History

The Ball State University Department of Theatre and Dance traces its roots to the founding of Ball State University as the Indiana State Normal School, Eastern Division in 1918, when courses in drama were offered through the Department of English. The Spotlight Club (later Spotlight Theatre), a student organization formed during the 1923-1924 academic year that was sponsored by the Department of English, produced theatre productions at Ball State.

Theatre activities at Ball State grew under the leadership of Edward Strother, who joined the Department of English in 1946, teaching courses in speech and dramatics and directing the Spotlight Theatre. Strother would serve on the faculty until his retirement in 1987, then serving as the head of the Department of Theatre.

The summer of 1957 saw the development of the Little Shoestring Theatre (renamed Summer Theatre in 1972), a collaborative summer theatre program that produced plays featuring both Ball State University students and faculty and Muncie community members. In 1961, the completion of the Ball State University Theatre building addition to the English Building provided much needed space for the growth of Ball State’s theatre program.

During the 1964-1965 academic year, the theatre program, along with the general speech program, journalism program, radio and television program, and speech and hearing therapy program, formed the Department of Speech and Mass Communications in the College of Sciences and Humanities. Through a series of several realignments in subsequent years, the theatre program resided in the Department of Speech and Journalism, the Department of Speech, and the Department of Speech and Theatre, later becoming the Department of Theatre in 1982.

In 1983, Ball State University created the College of Fine Arts with the Department of Theatre joining as one of its founding departments, with the dance program merging into the department in 1985. In 1991, the Department of Theatre was renamed the Department of Theatre and Dance.


26 Cubic Feet (31 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Subject Files, 1956-1985

Series 2: Scrapbooks and Clippings, 1940-2006

Series 3: Box Office records, 1961-2015

Series 4: Programs and Publications, 1960-2009

Series 5: Departmental events records, 1963-2009

Series 6: Production records and photographs, 1936-2012

Series 7: Alumni and faculty files, 1980-2010

Series 8: Student theses and portfolios, 1969-1997

Series 9: Departmental photographs and headshots, 1949-2008

Series 10: Video Recordings, 1989-1999

Series 11: Oversize Little Shoestring, 1957-1999

Series 12: Oversize Materials, 1970-2011

Related Archival Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie IN:

RG 21.04.03: Department of Theatre and Dance, Dance Program records

RG.14.20.01 Department of Speech and Theatre records

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2014/12/15 by Paisley Hansen.

Department of Theatre and Dance records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Ball State University Archives Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA