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Theatre for Youth and Community Collection

This guide is to engage researchers and community members with the history of theatre for young audiences and drama in education.

Reference and Background

Who are We?

The Theatre for Youth and Community Collection is the world's largest archival repository of manuscripts, ephemera, and educational materials related to the history of youth theatre. The collection contains over 2600 linear feet of manuscripts and over 700 print materials of plays. The Theatre for Youth and Community Collection maintains and enhances access to rich and varied materials, from costumes to playbills, that reflect the rich history of professional performance and theatre education for young audiences. 

The collection provides insight into the history and development of the field of theatre for young audiences, the implementation of drama in education programs, theatre in education, and, with it, of the performing arts for young audiences worldwide. The various materials document the history of the field, the educational work of its practitioners and form its memory.

What is our Mission?

We are becoming an inclusive archive available for every person we serve. We are one of the rarest collections in the world, and hope to serve anyone with a passion and interest in theatre for youth and community. This includes artists, teaching artists, scholars, educators, administrators, students, and youth themselves. We recognize the value of telling a history of theatre for young audiences and educators, which also acknowledging that this is not the only story. We celebrate this history, while also acknowledging the gaps and missing perspectives. A more inclusive, holistic history of the field is what we aspire to be.

What do we collect?

This collection operates under the belief that there is no singular way to create work for young audiences and no singular canon that defines the field. We collect and preserve materials documenting the international histories of professional theatre for young audiences, youth theatre, and theatre education from the 17th century to present day. 

Areas we collect focus on:

  • Theatre for young audiences: archives for over 21 professional TYA companies; parent and teacher guides, program development, and assessments; management, development and fundraising ideas
  • Playwriting: process development
  • Early childhood through high school theatre education: devising process; curricula; arts integration methodology; teacher development materials
  • Theatre design: Irene Corey collection; archives for production
  • Status of children in society: Cecily O'Neill, Joan Lazarus; Geraldine Siks, Barbara Salisbury Willis
  • International practices: ASSITEJ records and primary resources
  • Creativity

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.