The records of the Children's Theatre date from 1925 to 1986, with the bulk of the records falling between 1957 and 1986. Arranged into rough categories of administration, education, fundraising, and production, these records document the Theatre's changing relationships with Northwestern University and School District 65; the practice of Ward's drama education theory at public schools in Evanston; and Theatre performances between 1925 and 1986.
Formation records include historical materials and clippings, dating from 1957 to 1981; and records pertaining to the Children's Theatre's incorporation and by-laws, which document its establishment as an independent, “not-for-profit” organization after financial support from School District 65 ceased in 1971.
Administrative records consist of general files date from 1961 to 1986 and comprise budgets; job and administrative descriptions; and correspondence from director Rita Criste, executive director Jane Triplett, and drama supervisor Anne Thurman pertaining to theatre finances, administration, and educational partnerships with District 65 and Northwestern University. Financial records (1964 to 1984) consist of Theatre budget statements and projections.
Dating from 1967 to 1968, Anne Thurman's correspondence with the District 65 Drama Staff relates to Staff business and meetings. Of note is a page of typed, undated excerpts of letters from Winifred Ward, founder of the Children's Theatre, and two former members of the Drama Staff. The Drama Staff agendas and schedules (1958-1984) and Drama Staff minutes (1956 to 1967) pertain to meetings of the District 65 Creative Drama teachers, at which instructors of grades 1-9 from various Evanston schools coordinated programs and discussed teaching strategies for each grade level. Records of workshops in “creative dramatics” attended by District 65's drama teachers comprise notes, agendas, and worksheets dating from 1957 to 1969.
Dating from 1967 to 1973, the “curriculum enrichment materials”--lists of activities in science, social studies, and the language arts--were distributed by Theatre 65 to the teachers of elementary school classes attending Theatre performances.
Drafts of speeches delivered by Anne Thurman and District 65 teachers Beatrice Morris, Ruth Tretbar, and Leah Nathanson from 1964 to 1966 discuss drama education's potential to develop creativity and interpersonal skills among participating children.
Association for Children's Theatre (ACT) agendas and minutes document ACT meetings which resulted in the incorporation and funding of an independent Children's Theatre of Evanston in 1974. Association for Children's Theatre membership records list ACT board and committee membership as well as donors to the ACT.
Records of Children's Theatre Productions date from 1957 to 1986 and are organized by type of production: Christmas, Mainstage, Participatory Theatre, Summer, and Tour productions. The files are arranged chronologically within each category. Production records comprise performance advertisements; production budgets; audition schedules and materials; rehearsal schedules; audience evaluations of the performance; and thank-you letters from teachers and schoolchildren who had watched the performance.
Mainstage productions: “Step on a Crack” (1981); “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1984); and “The Wizard of Oz” (1985).
Participatory Theatre productions: “The Clam Made a Face” (1980); “The Fool of the World” (1982); “Mirrorman, “The Clown,” and “Take Me to Your Treasure” (1983); “Most Powerful Jujus”, “Magical Faces”, and “Emperor's Nightingale” (1984); and “Hans Christian Anderson”, “Dog and the Stone”, and “Crossroads” (1985).
Summer Theatre productions: “The Great Cross-Country Race” (1983); “Charlotte's Web” (1984); “Beauty and the Beast” (1985); and “The Thirteen Clocks” (1986).
Tour shows: “Androcles and the Lion” (1983); “Wiley and the Hairy Man” (1984); “Step on a Crack” (1985); and “Wilma's Revenge” (1986).
Also included are Performance programs, dating from the Theatre's founding in 1925 to 1986; and performance advertisements, dating from 1983 to 1985. A final folder contains an undated script of “A Bear called Paddington", a children's play.