State University Theater Records

Rabbit Rarities: No Business Like Show Business Rabbit Rarities: Forever Raise The Song Or College Days Capers - Banquet Alpha Psi Omega 59th Annual Spring Banquet Alpha Psi Omega 61st Annual Spring Banquet Capers - This is it! The Night of Nights Rabbit Rarities: Dream Time Production: Story Theatre Correspondence Season Brochures Production: Footlight's Club Program

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Reference code

UA 066

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State University Theater Records


  • 1931-2019 (Creation)


3.0 linear feet [3 record boxes]

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Administrative history

The history of theater at South Dakota State University began with the formation of eight literary societies in the 1880s that eventually merged into a short-lived dramatic club in 1923. These early societies organized various farces and plays, and instituted theater traditions such as the Senior Class Play. In 1930, a new club called the Footlight club became the prominent dramatic society on campus. By 1939, plays on campus were officially under the supervision of the Forensics and Dramatics Council in the Speech Department. This council oversaw all plays in conjunction with the State Players Dramatic Club (founded in 1949).

A chapter of Alpha Psi Omega was officially organized in 1949 on the SDSU campus and was extremely active on campus in the 1950s. The first designated technical director of plays at SDSU was Lawrence Stine in 1952 and starting in 1953, SDSU student were eligible to receive college credit for participating in plays. In 1956, Broadway musicals entered the theater repertoire of SDSU, with their production of South Pacific (as one of the first non-professional group to ever run it). Summer theater productions were established at SDSU in 1956 and Rabbit Rarities and Vaudeville shows were also introduced in the 1950s.

State University Theatre eventually became a branch of the Department of Communication Studies and Theater but is also a part of the School of Preforming Arts at South Dakota State University. Plays and productions have been held in over 14 different facilities on campus with the most recent being the Doner Auditorium and the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.

A chronological and conclusive history of the theatre programs at SDSU has only been recorded from 1892 – 1992. Documentation of the theater program after 1992 has been recoded but not yet complied into a conclusive history.

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The collection is composed of programs, posters, season ticket brochures, and photographs from the plays, musicals, and revues produced by State University Theatre.

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Related archival materials

Arndt, Xavia Diane, "A History of Theatre at South Dakota State University 1892 Through Summer, 1972" (1972).

Karlen, Louis "Trey" W., "History of State University Theatre 1972 Through 1992" (1993).

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UA 66

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