Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Arts Reporting: Beginnings of UT Drama - The Curtain Club

Preparing for the celebration of its 60th anniversary, UT's Department of Theatre and Dance has republished on-line a 1997 article on the Curtain Club, the student association that initiated theatre tradition at the university. Some extracts:

In the fall of 1908, several young men approached Stark Young, an English professor at UT, with the idea of forming a club whose purpose would be "to promote dramatic activity and the study of Shakespeare." Young agreed to sponsor the extracurricular organization and direct its productions. The name they chose was taken from a London theatre which flourished in Shakespeare's day, and the Curtain Club was born.

On March 2, 1909, the Curtain Club produced Ben Jonson's The Silent Woman with an all-male cast. Judging from contemporary articles in The Cactus and The Alcalde, the play was deemed a rousing success. In 1911, Moliere's The Miser played before a packed auditiorium and later toured Texas.

[. . .]

In 1916, women were finally admitted into the club. At that time, the students built all their own scenery, and usually borrowed props and costumes. Performances were first held in the University Auditiorium, until that building was condemned. The Scottish Rite Cathedral, the men's gym, the Labor Temple, Saengerrunde Hall, and even a tent were to house Curtain Club plays for the next decade.
Young left UT in 1915 to teach at Amherst College, and later to became a well-known theatre critic for the New York Times, New Republic, and Theatre Arts Magazine.

Read more at . . . .

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