Carolina Playmakers history is topic of exhibit and lecture at Wilson Library:
The original Carolina Playmakers―a precursor to today’s Playmakers Repertory Company―is the focus of an exhibition this spring in the Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Making a People’s Theatre: Proff Koch and the Carolina Playmakers” is on view in the North Carolina Collection Gallery through June 8. The free public exhibition is sponsored by the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Historical Collection.
Frederick “Proff” Koch established the troupe of students, faculty and community members in 1918 when he arrived to teach the university’s first course in playwriting. The exhibition will use photographs, artifacts, playbills and original documents from the Wilson Library collections to tell the story of the groundbreaking collegiate group that helped to establish the genre of American folk drama.
On April 8, UNC historian Cecilia Moore will deliver the talk “Defining the Folk Drama: The Carolina Playmakers” as the Gladys Hall Coates University History Lecture. The free public lecture will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of Wilson Library. Attendees can visit the exhibition during a reception that will begin at 5 p.m.
Among the items on view will be original props and costumes from the 1919 production of “The Return of Buck Gavin,” written by and starring then-student and future novelist Thomas Wolfe (class of 1920). Wolfe and classmate Paul Green (class of 1921 and author of the now classic play “The Lost Colony”) were among the many notable writers to emerge from Koch’s group. The troupe also produced actors including Andy Griffith (class of 1949).