By Beaudry Rae Allen
Dramatic Hall, circa 1890s
“…but be not afraid of greatness: Some are born great, others achieve greatness. And others have greatness thrust upon them.”—Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 2 Scene 5
Distinctive Collections invites you with a backstage pass to celebrate 150 years of Villanova Theatre with the new digital exhibit “Be Not Afraid of Greatness: Celebrating the History of Villanova Theatre.”
Inspired by the prevalence of Shakespeare in the production history of the Theatre Department, the lines are meant to evoke the profound yet humble legacy of Villanova Theatre, from its earliest days to capturing the essence of what the department is all about: enriching the campus culture and striving for greatness one performance at a time.
Very few may know, but the first appearances of theatre on campus started in 1870, and with this exhibit the University Archives seeks to evoke a sense of celebration of Villanova’s rich history and achievements spanning 150 years.
Take a step inside and explore the many different eras of theatre groups on campus and moments that have helped shape what the graduate program is today. The exhibit includes many programs and posters from early performances as well as photographs of students in rehearsals from the University Archives. In addition, the exhibit includes special photographs taken by Robert LeBlanc, First Year Experience Librarian, of theater students from fall 2019 and images of costumes on loan from the Villanova Theatre Department.
Rehearsals for Piper-Heidsieck ’98, 1950
Curated by Beaudry Rae Allen and Emma Poley ’21, Villanova Theatre Graduate Student, the digital exhibit is just a snapshot of the physical exhibit that opened March 12, 2020.
Poster of Turf and Tinsel Club production, circa 1940s
When the University reopens, the main physical exhibit will remain on display.
Beaudry Rae Allen is Preservation and Digital Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.