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Muncie Civic Theatre records

Identifier: MSS-070

Scope and Contents

This collection includes programs, oral history transcripts and records, scrapbooks and other material created and collected by the Muncie Civic Theatre ranging from 1931-2011 regarding the programming and history of the civic theatre in Muncie, Indiana.


  • 1931-2011

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.

Historical Note

The Muncie Civic Theatre (originally spelled "theater") was founded in March 1931. It was funded by William H. Ball, a second generation member of the Ball Family and an avid theatre supporter. Philip W. McCabee served as the first director for theatre productions from 1931-1934. Their first play, Dulcy, premiered on December 15, 1931 at the Masonic Temple Auditorium. The Muncie Civic Theatre continued to gain community involvement and support and put on performances without interruption until 1943.

During World War II, the Muncie Civic Theatre temporarily ceased formal productions from 1943-1945. However, supporters of the theatre continued to perform radio dramas Friday nights on WLBC. Formal performances resumed in 1946 with a performance of Laura, directed by Horace Burr, starring Ben Janney, Howard Miller, and Ann Crapo. The Muncie Civic Theatre has operated continuously since that time.

Early Muncie Civic Theatre plays were held in the Masonic Temple Auditorium. In 1961, the group initiated plans to move it's productions into its own building. The Wysor Grand Theatre on East Jackson St., the Liberty Theatre on South Walnut and the Hoosier Theatre on East Main Street were considered as possible sites. The group finally decided on the Hoosier Theatre, which had opened as the Star Theatre in 1904 showcasing vaudeville performances six days a week. The Hoosier had closed its doors in 1954 and was vacant until its purchase in 1961 by Muncie Civic Theatre. The organization spent $300,000 in renovating the old theatre, giving it a seating capacity of 460 seats. The musical comedy The Pajama Game was the first performance in the new venue on November 28, 1961.


19 Cubic Feet (30 boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Muncie Civic Theatre programs, 1931-2011

Series 2: Muncie Civic Theatre oral history transcripts, 1985, 1997

Series 3: Muncie Civic Theatre scrapbooks, 1931-1995

Subseries 3.1: Muncie Civic Theatre scrapbooks, 1931-1995

Subseries 3.2: Gladys E. Hearne scrapbooks, 1968-1991

Series 4: Muncie Civic Theatre oversize scrapbooks, 1948-1952

Series 5: Muncie Civic Theatre photographs, slides, and negatives, 1946-1947, 1961-2005, predominant 1990-2005

Series 6: Muncie Civic Theatre oral history recordings, 1985, 1997

Series 7: Muncie Civic Theatre oversize posters, undated

Series 8: Muncie Civic Theatre website archive, 2018-

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from E. Keith Kirkham on 1985/01/09. Additions to the collection were received by Archives and Special Collections in multiple donations from representatives of Muncie Civic Theatre including Rodney Richey in 1986, Robert Robbins from 1986/05/22-1986/08/05, Edward Strother from 1986/06/27-1995/11/14, and Todd Sandman on 2011/11/23.


Further additions are expected.

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:

MSS.096: Irene Belcher collection, 1916-1984

MSS.327: Larry and Sonja Reese Muncie Civic Theatre collection, 1960-1993

R.039: Wiley A. Spurgeon, History of Muncie Civic Theatre presentation, 1995

SC.271: Muncie Theatre collection, undated

SC.550: Muncie Civic Theatre Sun Dogs and Sunflowers program, 2001

PSC.171: Star Theatre photographs

Processing Information

Collection processing updated 2005/09/01 by J. Gastineau. EAD finding aid created 2012/10/16 by Stephen Jones.

Muncie Civic Theatre records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

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