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History of the Performing Arts at UNC-Chapel Hill: Academic Departments

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Department of Dramatic Arts

Theater and drama instruction occurred in the Department of English before the Department of Dramatic Art was established in 1936. Extensive photographic documentation, microfilm, office records and ephemera can be found in these collections, as well as materials relating to PlayMakers Repertory Company.

Three of the many individual collections from dramatic art faculty, staff and students are the Paul Green Papers, Russell Charles Link Scrapbook and the Samuel Selden Papers.

From 1939 to 1944, Pulitzer prize winning playwright and humanitarian, Paul Eliot Green was a professor in the department. Paul Green worked with many prominent figures in the arts including collaborating with Richard Wright on adapting Native Son for the theater.

Russell Charles Link chronicled his life as a student in the Dept. of Dramatic Art in the late 1950s with photographs and memorabilia in a scrapbook.

Samuel Selden was chairman of the Dept. of Dramatic Art and director of the Carolina Playmakers from 1944 to 1959. This collection includes drafts of books, speeches, plays and correspondence.

The UNC library guide dedicated to Dramatic Art includes sections on finding production reviews, analysis and dissertations, as well as databases for journal articles and additional research.

Playmaker's Repertory Company

Sweeney Todd performanceThe Carolina Playmakers became UNC Department of Dramatic Arts’ production unit in 1918.  In 1976 they reorganized as the PlayMakers Repertory Company (PRC), a professional, resident theater company serving the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Though administered by the Department of Dramatic Art, PRC is under contract with the Actors Equity Association and is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). 

The Department of Dramatic Art Records hold an extensive collection of administrative files and scripts (Series 2) and PRC Playbills (Series 9) and the North Carolina Collection of PRC Playbills can be found in the library catalog:

The first 40 years of PRC Playbills were digitized and begin with the first shows from the company in 1976 and continue through 2016.

Department of Music