The Southwestern College Campus Players celebrated 100 years of the honorary drama organization Oct. 25-27 during SC Homecoming festivities. As part of the celebration, a visual display was created in the President’s Art Gallery in the Darbeth Fine Arts Center. The display remains open until Friday.
The display includes photographs, programs and memorabilia from the first production, “The Melting Pot,” produced in the fall of 1919, directed by the founding faculty sponsor, Miss Martha Lee, through the many transitions of the years.
Miss Helen Graham, who had graduated in the spring of 1919, and was hence not one of the charter members of Campus Players, returned to Southwestern in 1922 and taught for 43 years before her retirement.
In addition to programs and production pictures, several costumes that Miss Graham created are on display, along with her smock which she wore while working on technical theatre.
“We found it in SC’s costume collection when we were moving into the TOMARI Technical Theatre Center in the spring of 2014,” said Roger Moon, retired theatre professor who created the display. “I thought I recognized it as one she wore in the early 1960s when I took private lessons from her and she would let me come to dress rehearsals and watch the actors get ready for the show. I remember her wearing it as she put the finishing details on the actor’s makeup, including a small red dot in the inner corner of their eye. I researched and was excited to find a picture of Miss Graham in the smock, so we know it was hers.”
In addition to pictures, programs and memorabilia from the eras of Norman Callison (1965-78), Darnell Lautt (1978-85) and Roger and Allyson Moon (1988-2019), the display also includes the transition years between.
Special events theatrical projects, including “Eagerheart,” the SC USO Tour of Asia, Horsefeathers and Applesauce Summer Dinner Theatre, the Shakespeare on the Walnut, and the honoring of SC Theatre by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival are also on display.
Visitors are encouraged to look through any of the scrapbooks containing the memorabilia collected for the past 100 years.
“We are blessed that we have been able to collect the vast amount of historical items, and doubly blessed that it has been preserved in the volumes of incredible scrapbooks by Mrs. Lou Tharp, who was SC’s performing arts faculty assistant for decades and who is also an honorary Campus Player,” Moon said.
The Campus Player display will be open during the daylight hours through Friday. Anyone who has questions or would like a private tour of the display with explanations is encouraged to schedule a tour by contacting Miranda Hofmeister at (620) 229-6272.