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Beloit College Theatre records

Identifier: AC 105


This collection contains materials relating to Beloit College's drama and theatre programs. The bulk of the collection is comprised of photographs of and programs for plays performed at the college by both student and professional troupes, including the Beloit College Players, New American Theatre, Court Theatre, the Festival Theatre program, and other visiting groups. There are various press releases, ads, newspaper clippings, and information on student groups, as well as many original photographs of productions of Greek plays from the mid-to-late 1800s.


  • 1869-ongoing

Access to Collection

This collection is open for research; however, certain materials are fragile and require Archives staff for handling, or use may be restricted altogether.

Biographical / Historical

Theatre at Beloit College started in the early years of the institution with the traditional Greek and class plays. Early performances were held in the natural amphitheater behind the Wright Art Hall, an area that became known as As You Like It Hill, after the first production performed there in 1901 by the all-female Shakespeare Society student theatre group. In 1916, students began to organize and produce their own theatrical productions, naming themselves the Beloit College Players. Their performance spaces varied from the Smith Gymnasium to Scoville Hall. Student interest in staging their own shows grew until the college realized that it would be necessary to conduct a search for a theatre faculty member to develop the theatre department. Kirk Denmark officially began the theatre department in 1947. In 1951 Denmark founded Court Theatre, a summer theatre with professional actors who could inspire and teach student apprentices.

The Laura Aldrich Neese Theatre was dedicated in 1975, with its opening production of Our Town. Beloit summer theatre was closed in 1976 due to financial difficulties. Today Beloit College theatre productions are mostly performed in in the Neese Theatre where there is a thrust stage modeled after the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and a black box theatre.

(Source: Beloit College Archives website, retrieved December 10, 2012)


16 linear feet (14 boxes, oversize photographs; further additions expected)

Language of Materials


Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into series:

  1. 1, General, 1869-ongoing
  2. 2, Professional Theatre, 1947-2000
  3. 3, Photographs, 1880s-ongoing


Generally, the plays are listed in chronological order according to when they were performed at the college, though this order has been imposed by the College Archives staff.

This collection is located on multiple aisles and shelves within the college archives. Part of it is also located lying loose on the shelves and in the flat drawers of oversized material. Much of the collection is undated. The original order of the loose documents and in the oversized drawers is unknown.

Previous processing of this collection divided some of the materials into separate series called Student, Greek Plays, and General, but these have all been collocated into the General series. However, the titles written on the folders themselves may not reflect this change.

Beloit College Theatre records
Phoebe Sherman, last revised by Michelle Tom
May 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Beloit College Archives and Special Collections Repository

700 College St.
Beloit WI 53511 USA