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Institute of Outdoor Theatre Collection

Outdoor theatre has been performed since the ancient Greeks, but gained notoriety in the early to mid-twentieth century in the United States. The Institute of Outdoor Theatre was founded to engage with potential theatres and assist existing theatres so they were more likely to be successful. The Institute opened its doors in 1963 and immediately began aiding potential theatre groups that wanted to tell the story of their local histories, as well as reaching out to all states to learn about the other outdoor dramas around the country. The Institute’s archives was donated to Joyner Library in October 2014.

The archives includes play scripts, correspondence, clippings, publicity material, video and audio recordings, feasibility studies, publications, reel-to-reel tapes, 35 mm slides, blueprints, and audition-related materials for more than 600 outdoor theatres. Materials relating to specific theatres or companies is approximately half of the Institute’s archives. The other half is comprised of materials they created or utilized. Bulletins, annual reports, correspondence, feasibility studies, planning groups, and director files to name a few. Additionally, there are papers and recordings that belong to Frank Lewin, a composer who worked on several outdoor productions.

Read more about processing the Institute of Outdoor Theatre's Archives on the Bringing the Outdoor "Indoors" blog.