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Adams Memorial Theatre Production Records

 Collection
Identifier: AC-24

Scope and Contents

The Adams Memorial Theater Production Records, 1940-2001, contain records of the development and performance of shows, and photographs of approximately 350 performances. Records include producers' correspondence regarding the production process, legal documentation of performance rights, audition materials, scripts, box office records, and calendars. Files include a variety of material: some are missing audition materials or box office records, while others have only these forms. Other material includes programs and records of outside performance groups.

Dates

  • 1940 - 2001

Conditions Governing Access

The Adams Memorial Theatre Production Records are open for research. Researchers are encouraged to contact Special Collections staff prior to a visit.

Adams Memorial Theatre

Adams Memorial Theater was constructed in 1941 under the presidency of James P. Baxter. Professor Max Flowers was the inaugural director and set the standard for performances early in its history. The theater opened with Marco Millions, produced by Cap and Bells and the AMT Company. In the 1953-1954 season, the theater presented the first of what would become an annual Freshman Revue. In subsequent years the AMT typically presented no fewer that nine productions per year and often upwards of thirteen. Over time, it acquired the second largest student group budget on campus.

Financial hardships and lack of interest plagued the theater for a number of years in the 1950s. During this time the drama major was reinstated and a fee was introduced to attend performances. These changes, as well as the addition of the Williamstown Summer Theater in 1954 were an attempt to revitalize AMT. Gradually the number of performances decreased as a result of diminishing interest and budget. In March 1960 Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra became the first show in which professional actors and production crews were used. In 1974, Professor Jean-Bernard Bucky was hired to advocate for a serious program in Theatre at Williams and, in the following year, a major in Theatre was approved by a unanimous vote of the faculty.

After a generous donation to the college, construction of the ’62 Center for Theater and Dance began in April 2003. It was designed as an expansive learning and performing environment, allowing for a larger variety of performances as well as larger professional groups. Though the name of the building has changed, the Adams Memorial Theater stage retains its name following renovations.

Williams College Theater

Prior to the construction of the Adams Memorial Theater, two campus theater groups performed regularly. The first, Cap and Bells, evolved from a number of student performing groups in existence since the early 1870s, including all-college and class-centered groups. The second, the Williams Little Theater, was formed in the early 1900s. These two groups performed in the Old Williamstown Opera House, Chapin Hall, and Jesup Hall. None of these sites offered the versatility needed to put on large-scale performances.

Extent

29.25 Linear Feet (13 manuscript boxes, 3 cartons, 19 flat boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

Organized into six series: I. Adams Memorial Theater Records. II. Outside Performance Groups at AMT. III. Stage Manager and Director Materials. IV. Williams College Theater Productions. V. Non-Williams College Productions. VI. Administrative Files. Within the folders material has been left in the order in which it was received. Photographs have been foldered separately.

Physical Location

Library Shelving Facility

Custodial History

During renovation, employees of the Adams Memorial Theater found a series of records in the attic of their offices and transferred them to the College Archives on May 14th, 2004. In December 2005, more files were transferred.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transfer from from staff at the Adams Memorial Theatre, May 14, 2004, and from Paula Wells, Administrative Coordinator of the Theater Department, December 2005.

Separated Materials

A variety of materials, including clippings from newspapers and the student thesis, The place of Williams College dramatics in educational theatre: history and prospects (Spelman, J.W.), are available in Archives and Special Collections. These materials can be located through the Williams library catalog or by contacting the College Archivist.

Processing Information

Upon receipt, the records were arranged chronologically, photographs were foldered separately, and files pertaining to performances given by outside groups at the theater separated so that they could be easily distinguished. Deteriorating materials, including correspondence, newsprint, and other documents, were photocopied onto acid free paper. Materials were refoldered, and rehoused in archival boxes.
Title
Adams Memorial Theatre Production Records
Author
Flowers, Bryan and Provost, Morgan
Date
2004, 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Williams College Archives & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Sawyer Library
26 Hopkins Hall Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267