Scope and Contents
The collection is divided into eight series. Included are general files, such as calendars, announcements, information on organizations, newsletter, etc. The remainder of the collection focuses on the Rice Players’ productions. There are individual files on each production and may include programs, flyers, posters, photographs and news clippings. These productions are arranged alphabetically, but a chronological list was also compiled and included in the finding aid. There is also material set up by item type, such as reel-to-reel tapes, slides, VHS and compact videocassettes, slides, photographs, CD’s and oversize material (posters and design sketches).
This material is open for research but permission to publish from the Rice Players Records must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center.
Conditions Governing Access
Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Biographical / Historical
The Rice Dramatic Club, formed in the 1920’s, underwent reorganization, the results of which was the Rice Players which was started in the early 1950’s. During the transition, the group was aided by Dr. Willard Thorpe, a visiting instructor in American Studies from Princeton University. There were no theater classes; the Players were solely an extracurricular organization. The first productions were held outdoors. They moved indoors to Hamman Hall when it was built in 1958. The Players established a system of student coordinators to be the organizing body. They chose plays, found directors, etc. The Players at that time were funded by the Rice University Administration.
Neil “Sandy” Havens was the Players’ first full-time director. He had graduated from Rice in 1956 and had gone on to Indiana University for a master’s degree.
His interview for the position included a long session with the Players themselves and was hired in 1964. After a distinguished career at Rice, Sandy retired in 1999.
In 1964 the university gave the Rice Players $2,000 and Sandy’s salary. By 1976 they were told to use box office receipts to meet production expenses, although the university promised that they would help out if the Players ever found themselves in financial difficulties. So far they have only called on the university twice.
During Sandy’s first year at Rice, the Players were part of the English Department, but transferred to the Fine Arts Department when it was formed during his second year. Also that year, a request for a course in Theater was requested and in 1966-67, the first Theater 300 and 301 courses were added to the schedule. Over the years, there have been a few Rice students to graduate with an area major (an option in the Rice curriculum which lets students design their own majors, with faculty approval) in theater. However, the Players remains an extracurricular organization and there is no Department of Theater.
Rice Players Coordinators decided to institute an award to recognize outstanding contributions to the Rice Players by members of Rice University’s faculty and/or staff. In 2001 the first Coordinators’ Awards were given to Gale Stokes, Interim Dean of Humanities and Assistant Dean of Humanities, Becky Heye.
Excerpted from A History of Student Life at Rice University, 1990; and article from Cornerstone, by Karen Rogers, Winter/Spring 2001
11 Linear Feet (18 boxes)
4.21 Gigabytes (Nearline access: UA0056aip_001 (4.21 GB))
Language of Materials