MS 305 - Black Swamp Players
|Title||MS 305 - Black Swamp Players|
|Subject||Arts & Entertainment|
This collection is comprised of documents pertaining to the community theater group of Bowling Green, Ohio, The Black Swamp Players, from 1968 to the present. It includes minutes of meetings, correspondence, history of the organization, reports, and printed materials, including newsletters, pamphlets and play programs. Also included in this collection are playbills, posters and photographs which may be borrowed for limited time periods by members of The Black Swamp Players.
The records were donated and transferred to the Center for Archival Collections in April 1983 through the cooperation of The Black Swamp Players and its president at the time, Richard G. Lenhart. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purpose of preservation and scholarly research. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. The register was prepared by Robert A. Dunkelberger in September 1984, revised by Susan Irwin in 1990, by Paul Buckingham in September 1993, and by Daniel Acosta Elkan in March 2015.
The Black Swamp Players was officially inaugurated in the autumn of 1968 in Bowling Green, Ohio. The company was registered with the State of Ohio as a non-profit corporation in the Autumn of 1970.
The Black Swamp Players takes its name from the historic association of the Bowling Green area with the Great Black Swamp which covered much of northwest Ohio until drained by the settling of German and Scot farmers during the mid-nineteenth century. The name was chosen to emphasize the company's commitment to providing a theatrical outlet to the entire Bowling Green area, and to avoid confusion with the theater program of Bowling Green State University.
Plays during the early years were performed in schools--the Junior High, Crim Street School and, most frequently, Kenwood School. The season at that time usually consisted of three major productions with occasional one-acts, readings and reviews performed on demand for various organizations.
In 1976, The Black Swamp Players moved to the Veteran's Memorial Hall in the City Park. Here performance facilities were combined with storage, work-space and rehearsal space. During the 1975-76 season, the Young People's Theater program for junior high school students was created. It currently has two phases--a year-long workshop capped with its own major production, and a six-to-eight week summer program. In the 1982-83 season, a Children's Theater Workshop for elementary students was created. It is designed to be self-supporting and is autonomous within the Black Swamp Players' organization.
During the 1978-79 season, the first dinner-theater production in conjunction with the Bowling Green Elks' Lodge was performed. Since that season, the dinner-theater offerings have expanded from one to three productions.
In 1993, The Black Swamp Players, after presenting plays and musicals in various locations in town, such as the Senior Citizens Center and the Holley Lodge Atrium, moved into quarters at the Woodland Mall in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Players were forced to vacate this space for the 1995-1996 season due to building code issues, putting on their shows at the Junior High School auditorium, but returned for the 1996-1997 season.
The Players were forced to give up their space in Woodland Mall in the Summer of 2002, and have staged their plays primarily at the First United Methodist Church through 2015.
|Scope and Content|
The records of the Black Swamp Players are fairly comprehensive in their documentation of the establishment, administration, membership, financial affairs and the theatrical production of this local community theater group. The Board minutes are detailed and informative and generally complete. Similarly, the general meeting minutes (becoming annual meetings in 1976) are fairly complete. Membership and office lists are available from 1968.
The correspondence is divided into various categories according to correspondent. These categories are advertisers and patrons, the board, companies, members, the president, letters of appreciation and miscellaneous. Subject files are also divided into various categories. For example, the subject file labeled, "advertisers", deals with those businesses which bought advertisements in the play programs. Other subject headings include Awards Banquet, Ohio Community Theater Association, Youth Theater, and history of The Black Swamp Players.
The reports found in this collection include financial reports, both yearly and monthly, financial reports on the plays, yearly financial statements and general reports. Legal documents include agreements, applications, contracts, by-laws and other governing rules of The Black Swamp Players. Newspaper clippings document various activities of The Black Swamp Players as well as plays produced and are available from 1969. Printed material includes The Black Swamp Players' newsletter, pamphlets for each season and play programs. A complete set of season pamphlets, for the years is included in this collection, however, some of the newsletters and play programs are missing.
Files on each play, photographs, and oversize posters advertising the plays complete this collection.
GENERAL MEETING MINUTES.
GENERAL MEETING AGENDAS.
CORRESPONDENCE TO ADVERTISERS AND PATRONS.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE BOARD.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH COMPANIES.
CORRESPONDENCE TO MEMBERS.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE PRESIDENT.
LETTERS OF APPRECIATION.
HISTORY-BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS.
HISTORY-LISTS OF PLAYS PERFORMED AND CAST MEMBERS.
OHIO COMMUNITY THEATER ASSOCIATION.
OTHER COMMUNITY THEATER ASSOCIATIONS/THEATER GROUPS.
FINANCIAL REPORTS ON PLAYS.
YEARLY FINANCIAL REPORTS.
PLAY PROGRAMS/FILES. (start box 5)
1985-1986, 1988-1990, 1997, 2010-2012, n.d.
Recordings of various theatrical performances by the Black Swamp Players.
OVERSIZE PRINTED MATERIAL
MISCELLANEOUS OVERSIZED MATERIALS
1986-1987, 1996, n.d.
Concept drawings for various stage designs, likely by Willard Misfeld. Design for a new Black Swamp Players Theater. Various backstage signs. A publicity book for the 1986-1987 season.
Box 13 (Oversize Material)
OCTA Manual, 1961