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Studio Theatre
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Production files

Series consists of records documenting the technical, operative, and administrative activities of Studio Theatre productions. Records include programs, news clippings, and promotion material. The more recent files contain more records including background production research notes, financial records, and correspondence. A production file was maintained for each production. Title based on content of the files. photographs and oversize items were removed from the files and stored separately; news clippings were photocopied on to acid neutral paper and the original clippings removed. The files are maintained in chronological order by date of production.

Studio Theatre

Studio Theatre

  • Fonds
  • 1949-2009

The records in the Studio Theatre fonds span a period of more than forty years. They offer record of a long-standing and innovative working theatre deeply involved in the Edmonton arts community, as well as documenting an important component of the University of Alberta's drama department program. Studio Theatre has contributed immensely to the development of theatre in Alberta and Canada, as witnessed by the number of individuals working in theatre across the country who have participated and gained experience on the Studio Theatre stage.

The records have been arranged and described in six series, with a basic chronological order maintained within each series. There is information about almost every play produced on the Studio Theatre stage between 1949 and 1991. Information tends to be fairly skimpy for the earlier productions; a production file might only contain a program and review clipping. As the years progress, more and more information is included with the production file. Reports from technical crew heads, front of house reports, financial records and publicity clippings are routinely kept. The production books, described in Series III, often provide the most detailed and varied information about a production. These books are production scrapbooks, and include programs, reports, clippings, telegrams, related correspondence, photographs, set plans, cast lists, and much more. Almost all of the production books have a copy of the script, used by the director as a prompt script and annotated with movement blocking, directions, and notes. In some production books, the director has included a written commentary critiquing various aspects of the production; theme may also be discussed, and background research notes about the play and playwright included.

With over 4000 photographic images (prints, negatives, and contacts) represented in the fonds, it is possible to get a 'visual' sense of the productions. Many productions are represented by both 'official' and 'candid' shots, and there are views of actors, sets, and costumes. The photographs vary in quality of picture as well as physical condition of print. Also documented in the Studio Theatre records are production posters, costume designs and set plans. Again, a researcher may have to consult the production book (Series III) as well as the specific media listing (Series IV) to see all available documents in these areas.

Not represented very extensively in these records is administrative documentation; a researcher interested in Studio Theatre administration should consult the general drama department records. The administrative records that are available in this fond consist of the correspondence files described in Series I. Torches Theatre records are also fairly sketchy, consisting of production books for the years 1962-1969.

The Studio Theatre records are a valuable contribution to theatre history documentation at the University of Alberta, and the City of Edmonton. They provide a glimpse of the people involved in drama during a formative time for theatre development in Edmonton. Social history is revealed through the plays chosen for production at Studio Theatre, mirroring the issues and trends in the wider society. Classical and contemporary plays, some experimental and others quite traditional, are all a part of Studio Theatre's production legacy.

The records have been arranged and described as six series, and a detailed series and file list follows. A brief description is provided of each series, followed by the file listing. A production index is found at the end of the inventory to assist in locating specific files.

Because the Studio Theatre records were received at the Archives as several deposits over a period of years, there was a need to bring the records together intellectually to better aid researchers looking for as complete a picture as possible. A basic chronological arrangement was maintained, with series arrangements assigned by the archivist to reflect function and format of the records.

The records are in good physical shape. The bound production books tend to be somewhat fragile and archivally compromised because of their 'scrapbook' quality. The paper in the books is very acidic, and items have often been attached with glue and scotch tape. Newspaper clippings are taped beside photographs, and oversize plans folded to fit the books. The binding of the production books is good, however, and no attempt was made to remove affixed items from the books. The pages with attached photographs were interleaved with acid-free tissue paper. In the production show files, newspaper clippings were photocopied and originals removed, and photographs were separated from the textual file for separate storage and description. The photographs vary in quality, and physical shape and it is obvious that they were handled a lot in the course of choosing publicity shots, etc. Contact prints and 35mm negatives are available for many of the productions. Where possible, oversize items have been flattened and stored separately.

The Studio Theatre fonds span a period of more than forty years, and provide a valuable record of a long-standing and innovative working theatre in the Edmonton community, as well as documenting an important component of the University of Alberta's drama department program. Studio Theatre has contributed immensely to the development of theatre in Alberta and Canada, as witnessed by the number of talented individuals working in theatre across the country who have participated and gained experience on the Studio Theatre stage.

The records have been arranged and described in six series, with a basic chronological order maintained within each series. There is information about almost every play produced on the Studio Theatre stage between 1949 and 1991. Information tends to be fairly skimpy for the earlier productions; a production file might only contain a program and review clipping. As the years progress, more and more information is included with the production file. Reports from technical crew heads, front of house reports, financial records and publicity clippings are routinely kept. The production books, described in Series III, often provide the most detailed and varied information about a production. These books are production scrapbooks, and include programs, reports, clippings, telegrams, related correspondence, photographs, set plans, cast lists, and much more. Almost all of the production books have a copy of the script, used by the director as a prompt script and annotated with movement blocking, directions, and notes. In some production books, the director has included a written commentary critiquing various aspects of the production; theme may also be discussed, and background research notes about the play and playwright included.

With over 4000 photographic images (prints, negatives, and contacts) represented in the fonds, it is possible to get a 'visual' sense of the productions. Many productions are represented by both 'official' and 'candid' shots, and there are views of actors, sets, and costumes. The photographs vary in quality of picture as well as physical condition of print. Also documented in the Studio Theatre records are production posters, costume designs and set plans. Again, a researcher may have to consult the production book (Series III) as well as the specific media listing (Series IV) to see all available documents in these areas.

Not represented very extensively in these records is administrative documentation; a researcher interested in Studio Theatre administration should consult the general drama department records. The administrative records that are available in this fond consist of the correspondence files described in Series I. Torches Theatre records are also fairly sketchy, consisting of production books for the years 1962-1969.

The Studio Theatre records are a valuable contribution to theatre history documentation at the University of Alberta, and the City of Edmonton. They provide a glimpse of the people involved in drama during a formative time for theatre development in Edmonton. Social history is revealed through the plays chosen for production at Studio Theatre, mirroring the issues and trends in the wider society. Classical and contemporary plays, some experimental and others quite traditional, are all a part of Studio Theatre's production legacy.

The records have been arranged and described as six series, and a detailed series and file list follows. A brief description is provided of each series, followed by the file listing. A production index is found at the end of the inventory to assist in locating specific files.

Because the Studio Theatre records were received at the Archives as several deposits over a period of years, there was a need to bring the records together intellectually to better aid researchers looking for as complete a picture as possible. A basic chronological arrangement was maintained, with series arrangements assigned by the archivist to reflect function and format of the records.

The records are in good physical shape. The bound production books tend to be somewhat fragile and archivally compromised because of their 'scrapbook' quality. The paper in the books is very acidic, and items have often been attached with glue and scotch tape. Newspaper clippings are taped beside photographs, and oversize plans folded to fit the books. The binding of the production books is good, however, and no attempt was made to remove affixed items from the books. The pages with attached photographs were interleaved with acid-free tissue paper. In the production show files, newspaper clippings were photocopied and originals removed, and photographs were separated from the textual file for separate storage and description. The photographs vary in quality, and physical shape and it is obvious that they were handled a lot in the course of choosing publicity shots, etc. Contact prints and 35mm negatives are available for many of the productions. Where possible, oversize items have been flattened and stored separately.

Torches Theatre

Public Relations and Promotion.

  1. Photographs: The photographic material is organized as a separate sub-series because of the nature of several deposits of photographic material made to the Archives over the years. Photographs of individual productions were donated, along with more general and undescribed photographic material. For purposes of conservation, any loose photographs placed in the production files were removed and described in this series under their production title. For the most part, the photographs are black and white copy prints, often accompanied with negatives and contact sheets.

The production photographs often consist of both posed publicity shots, as well as candid shots taken during the production. The photographs were used for publicity and advertising purposes and were handled often resulting in some frayed edges and dog-eared corners. Studio Theatre used the same photographers from one production to the next, and names of photographers are sometimes stamped on the back of the photographs.

Photographs have not been removed from the production books described in Series III. In these books, the photos have often been glued or taped into the books, along with printed descriptions. The file listing for Series III indicates which books contain photographs, how many, and whether a color or black and white format.

The divisions created within this sub- series reflect the provenance of separate donations, and include:

A. Eric Beaumont negatives - Eric Beaumont was a professional photographer who had an arrangement with Studio Theatre to photograph their productions and print copies for anyone wanting them.

B. Contact prints - donated to the Archives by Photo Services, who also had an arrangement with Studio Theatre to photograph and make available production prints.

C. Production photographs - Some were deposited as separate production photos, while others were separated from the production files. Included are two bound books of production photographs (the photos are glued in the books) from 1950-51 and 1951-52 Studio Theatre seasons.

  1. Posters: The posters, arranged chronologically by production, are listed and described individually; size and colours are indicated. When possible, more than one copy of a poster is retained. Small posters are sometimes folded and affixed to the production books.

  2. Sound Recordings: There are only four sound recordings, and two of these are CKUA broadcasts that relate directly to Studio Theatre. The tapes are described individually.>

  3. Scrapbooks: There is one scrapbook, containing a mixture of media, relating to the Department of Drama generally, Torches Theatre and Studio Theatre.

Design Records

The items in this series provide a sample of the set designs and plans and costume designs created for Studio Theatre productions. Only a small proportion of the Studio Theatre productions are represented in this series, although the representation is increased if the production books plans and designs are considered.
The items are arranged as:

  1. Costume designs
  2. Set designs
  3. Set plans
    The order is chronological by production date. The costume designs are hand drawn and coloured and usually identified by the name of the character. Set designs, like costume designs, are hand drawn and coloured. The set plans include details on set elevations, prop placement, and stage dimenions. Designs are fragile and composed on low grade paper. Many are over sized and stored seperately.

Studio Theatre

Production Books

Production books, while closely related to the production files described in Series II, are maintained as a separate series. The production book at Studio Theatre was created for most productions and becomes a sort of 'scrapbook' of each show produced. While the books vary from one individual production to the next, they share common elements. The books are bound, and contain a wealth of information about a particular production. Included is the director's or prompt script, with detailed annotation outlining movement blocking, properties used, director's notes, etc. Early production books were often prepared in partial fulfillment of drama course requirements and include director's critiques of all elements of the show. The books usually include reports from the various crews: set construction, costumes, sound, light and properties. There are rehearsal schedules, cast-lists, publicity notices and reviews, as well as photographs, programs, telegrams, etc. Background is often provided on the play chosen, the playwright, and on other performances of the play. In the file list that follows, a description of the contents of individual production books is provided. The files are maintained in chronological order by date of production.

The series title is based on the content of the records.

Related Theatre Records.

The University of Alberta Alumni Studio A was registered as a Society on May 4th, 1956. Membership was open to any person who was an alumnus of the University of Alberta provided their membership was approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors, consisting of a President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, and two directors met monthly, while general meetings were planned annually. The head of the Studio Theatre was an ex-officio member of the board during his term of office. Studio Theatre provided rehearsal space, underwrote the expenses of the plays, and had a share of Alumni Studio's profits. The alumni who joined this organization were often Drama Department graduates who wished to remain involved with the University theatre scene. The Alumni Studio players staged productions during the Studio Theatre season, Alumni Players acting alongside current University of Alberta drama students in regular season productions. The Alumni Studio A Society appears to have functioned until the mid-1960's, and gradually dwindling out as Studio Theatre focused more on students in the drama program filling all the positions related to the production. While very brief, the Alumni Studio A records that follow provide a variety of information on the Society.

Torches Theatre opened in June of 1962 as an outdoor summer theatre. It was an idea of Gordon Peacock's, based on his experience of seeing Shakespeare staged in the open at Central Park in New York. Torches Theatre was situated in the south courtyard of Corbett Hall, which permitted access to the Studio Theatre switchboard for lights and power. The entrance to the courtyard was marked with two burning torches that prior to the performance were placed on either side of the stage; hence the name "Torches" Theatre. The outdoor stage was a raised platform, four feet high with steps up to it and levels above it for a second story. The audience, which could number over 200, sat on wooden chairs on the lawn; in case of rain, the theatre was moved indoors to the Studio Theatre stage. Productions played nightly and were usually staged from early July until mid-August. Productions staged in the first summer at Torches included Dark of the Moon, Under Milkwood, and Our Town.

Torches was a semi-professional theatre; a 1967 press release states that: "each acting fellow will be paid $75.00 per week for the performance period and $50.00 per week for the rehearsal periods." This press release advertises pay rates for positions in acting, production and box office. By 1967, the Torches productions were touring the province, performing in a number of communities in Alberta prior to their regular summer season.

The Torches records consist of eighteen production books dating from 1962 to 1969. They provide valuable information about the Torches summer productions, and are listed below.

The files are arranged chronologically by date of production.

Related Theatre Records

The University of Alberta Alumni Studio A was registered as a Society on May 4th, 1956. Membership was open to any person who was an alumnus of the University of Alberta provided their membership was approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors, consisting of a President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, and two directors met monthly, while general meetings were planned annually. The head of the Studio Theatre was an ex-officio member of the board during his term of office. Studio Theatre provided rehearsal space, underwrote the expenses of the plays, and had a share of Alumni Studio's profits. The alumni who joined this organization were often Drama Department graduates who wished to remain involved with the University theatre scene. The Alumni Studio players staged productions during the Studio Theatre season, Alumni Players acting alongside current University of Alberta drama students in regular season productions. The Alumni Studio A Society appears to have functioned until the mid-1960's, and gradually dwindling out as Studio Theatre focused more on students in the drama program filling all the positions related to the production. While very brief, the Alumni Studio A records that follow provide a variety of information on the Society.

Torches Theatre opened in June of 1962 as an outdoor summer theatre. It was an idea of Gordon Peacock's, based on his experience of seeing Shakespeare staged in the open at Central Park in New York. Torches Theatre was situated in the south courtyard of Corbett Hall, which permitted access to the Studio Theatre switchboard for lights and power. The entrance to the courtyard was marked with two burning torches that prior to the performance were placed on either side of the stage; hence the name "Torches" Theatre. The outdoor stage was a raised platform, four feet high with steps up to it and levels above it for a second story. The audience, which could number over 200, sat on wooden chairs on the lawn; in case of rain, the theatre was moved indoors to the Studio Theatre stage. Productions played nightly and were usually staged from early July until mid-August. Productions staged in the first summer at Torches included Dark of the Moon, Under Milkwood, and Our Town.

Torches was a semi-professional theatre; a 1967 press release states that: "each acting fellow will be paid $75.00 per week for the performance period and $50.00 per week for the rehearsal periods." This press release advertises pay rates for positions in acting, production and box office. By 1967, the Torches productions were touring the province, performing in a number of communities in Alberta prior to their regular summer season.

The Torches records consist of eighteen production books dating from 1962 to 1969. They provide valuable information about the Torches summer productions, and are listed below.

The files are arranged chronologically by date of production.

Studio Theatre

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