Thursday, September 27, 2012

Children’s Playhouse Theatre Collection now available in the Digital Media Repository

The shows must go on, and they did for the Children’s Playhouse Theatre in Muncie, Indiana for over 30 years. Now you can get a glimpse into all the work that went into Children’s Playhouse Theatre productions from 1943-1967 in one of our newest online collections in the Digital Media Repository. The Children’s Playhouse Theatre digital collection includes advertisements, programs, tickets, sketches and other materials created and collected by Irene Belcher that document the performances and history of the Children’s Playhouse Theatre.

Irene Belcher began operating a local educational theatre program for school age children in the 1930s. Her first studio was across from the old City Hall building, on the southwest corner of Jackson and Jefferson streets. From there she moved to the third floor of the Chamber of Commerce building, on the corner of Jefferson and Main Street, where she had the entire top floor. She was also active in children’s theatre groups nationally, being one of the original twenty members who formed the National Children’s Theatre Conference in 1944. She served several times as advisor for children’s theatres throughout the country.

The items in this collection document the operations of the Children’s Playhouse Theatre from the recruitment of students and patrons through the performance of classic productions including Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Heidi, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty and many more. Advertisements and flyers display methods used for promoting involvement in the theatre and selling tickets. Sketches and notes created by Irene Belcher document the planning of set and costume designs. Finally, programs record the participants and locations of Children’s Playhouse Theatre performances.

This digital collection will be of interest to former participants in Children’s Playhouse Theatre performances, children’s theatre directors looking for examples of the preparation, promotion and performance of productions, parents, educators, and patrons interested in encouraging children to become actively involved in performing arts, and many others who have an interest in theatre.

The material in this digital collection is part of the Irene Belcher collection in Archives and Special Collections which includes additional material documenting Irene Belcher’s work with the Muncie Civic Theatre and other performing arts and community organizations.

For more information about The Irene Belcher collection or other performing arts collections in Archives and Special Collections, contact us at 765-285-5078 or

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