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Department of Theatre Arts Records

Identifier: LU-RG04-032
This collection consists of records documenting the operations and activities of the Department of Theatre Arts at Lawrence. The bulk of the collection consists of production files containing newspaper clippings, programs, and photographs of theatrical productions. Administrative records, directors' books, posters, related student organization files, and materials documenting the predecessors to the Department of Theatre at Lawrence (oratory and debate, and the School of Expression) are also included.


  • 1878-2015


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Lawrence University does not hold the copyright for all materials in this collection. Uses beyond those allowed for fair use under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) require the researcher to secure permission from the copyright holder.


12.45 Linear Feet (19 boxes)

Biographical or Historical Information

Public speaking, oratory, and debate were heavily emphasized in the Lawrence curriculum beginning in the earliest years of instruction. These subjects were taught in a School of Expression from 1903 to 1913, with the aim "to offer adequate training in the arts of Oratory, Public Reading, Impersonation, and Dramatic Representation." After that time, speech and dramatic study constituted a sub-section of the English department. F. Theodore (Ted) Cloak began teaching at Lawrence in 1929 in the newly-created Department of Public Speaking and Dramatics. By 1933, he had convinced the college to establish a Department of Theatre and Drama. He led the department until his retirement in 1969. Departmental and student-led theatrical productions were held in the Chapel, in the basement of the Union, in the gymnasiums, or outside until the Music-Drama Center was built in 1959. The F. Theodore Cloak Experimental Theatre was dedicated in honor of Professor Cloak in 1973.

Arrangement Note

Materials are arranged in five series: 1. Administrative records, 1878-2009 2. Directors' books, 1941-1976 3. Posters, 1934-1994 4. Production files, 1915-2015 5. Student organization records, 1926-1979 6. Student plays written for Fred Gaines, 1977-2010

Method of Acquisition

Most materials were acquired prior to 2005; the date at which this began is unknown. Production collage posters were transferred to the Archives by the Department of Theatre Arts in July, 2013.

Accruals and Additions

Further accruals are expected.

Separated Materials

Materials reflecting the non-departmental business of F. Theodore (Ted) Cloak and Joseph Hopfensperger were separated from the collection and housed with their respective personal papers (both unprocessed as of October, 2012).

Processing Information

Preliminary processing completed prior to 2005. Final processing completed by Sasha Ross and Erin Dix, 2012.
Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2013-07: Revised to incorporate posters
  • 2016-06: Revised to incorporate student plays written for Fred Gaines

Repository Details

Part of the Lawrence University Archives Repository

Seeley G. Mudd Library
113 South Lawe Street
Appleton WI 54911 US
(920) 832-6753