TheaterWorks Records, 1972 -- 1999


Title: TheaterWorks Records
Dates: 1972 -- 1999
Bulk Dates: 1978 -- 1989
Creator: TheaterWorks
Call Number: MS023
Size: 12.3 Cubic Feet, 5 Audiovisual Object(s)
Language(s): English  
Permanent URL:
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


The TheaterWorks Collection includes production notes, scripts, notes from collaborative projects, publicity (including original posters and programs), financial records, general administrative records, resumes and headshots, photographs and slides, sound and video recordings, grant materials, fundraising and subscriber information. The bulk of the material dates from 1978 to 1989 and documents the many shows and projects TheaterWorks created and participated in as well as the artists and theater groups with whom they collaborated.

This collection contains examples of the fundraising and grant writing work necessary for a small theater company, and the kinds of financial records it generates. Additionally, there are some original scripts with accompanying production notes that might be of interest to new experimental or student theater companies.


The collection is organized into nine series: Productions and Shows, Photographs, Collaborative Projects, Administrative files and Correspondence, Biographical Information, Financial Information, Fundraising and Grants, Publicity and Media, A/V Media.


Biographical / Historical

TheaterWorks, an experimental theater company in Boston, was founded in 1980 and performed between 1981-1989. The company grew out of Reality Theater, another small experimental company that produced works in the late 1970s. TheaterWorks used small theater settings to introduce Boston audiences to innovative productions and produced new and original works.

The company performed at several locations around the city including a space at UMass Boston downtown and at Suffolk University. The company won multiple regional awards including "best new company," "best individual performance," and "best play" as well as critical recognition for their work. People who were artistically instrumental in the company include the co-founding Artistic Directors Vincent Murphy and Tim McDonough, both of whom acted, directed and wrote for TheaterWorks. The later Artistic Directors David Miller and Downing Cless and playwright-in-residence Jon Lipsky also had significant influence in shaping and maintaining the company.

This collection is connected to Tufts University in several ways: TheaterWorks occasionally performed in a space on-campus, Vincent Murphy was the Head of the Acting/Directing Program (1985-1986), and Downing Cless is a Tufts faculty member.

TheaterWorks stopped producing works in 1989 for artistic, financial and personnel reasons. The founders continue to be actively involved in both academic and regional theater.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Any intellectual property rights that the donor possesses have been transferred to Tufts University.

Collection History

Processing Notes

Processed by Shanti Freundlick, 2008-11.

This collection is processed.

Subjects and Genre Terms

Series Description

  1. Productions and shows, 1973 -- 1990

    This series contains flyers, programs, script and production development notes, schedules, and drafts of scripts. The material is spread evenly across the included dates. These records are a direct result of the realized productions of Reality Theater and TheaterWorks. Each show file contains different types and amounts of information on each production.

  2. Photographs, 1979 -- 1990

    This series contains photographs, contact sheets, negatives and slides. The photos are spread over the inclusive dates. The images include production photos, publicity pictures and candid photos of actors during the rehearsal process. On many photos credit is given to the photographer and the people in a picture are named on the back.

  3. Collaborative projects, 1974 -- 1990

    This series contains meeting notes, production design sketches, contracts, publicity and correspondense. The records are spread out over the inclusive dates. All of these records were created as results of collaborative efforts between TheaterWorks and other theater groups and range from performances to regional artistic alliances.

  4. Administrative files and correspondence, 1973 -- 1998

    This series contains awards, season listings, organization bylaws, organizational background and their mission statement, blank forms, meeting minutes, contracts, job descriptions, notes on searches for a performance space, insurance, production note cards and a few mac floppy disks. The bulk of the information is from 1979-1989. These records were created in everyday business and relate to multiple shows or seasons.

  5. Biographical information, 1972 -- 1990

    This series contains biographical excerpts suitable for program notes, headshots, resumes and Vinny Murphy's personal papers and projects. The records are spread across the 1980s and contain small amounts of biographical information (suitable for publicity or promotion) on artists who were part of, or auditioned for TheaterWorks.

  6. Financial information, 1980 -- 1993

    This series contains annual reports, financial statements from different fiscal years, bank receipts and statements, budgets, a business plan, receipts, and IRS information including exemption forms, federal and state returns and 990 forms. The records were created throughout the inclusive dates. This is the financial paperwork generated by any small non-profit organization and is an excellent look at the kinds of record keeping and financial exercises necessary for producing small, independent theater.

  7. Fundraising and grants, 1981 -- 1999

    This series contains box office documents, correspondences, mailing lists for subscribers, donor and contributor information, information from granting organization, copies of completed grant applications and funding proposals. The bulk of the information is from 1981-1989. These records show where TheaterWorks applied to for grants and donations: funds that covered the majority of the organizations expenses.

  8. Publicity and media, 1976 -- 1990

    This series contains originals for brochures, letterhead, logos, printing, forms, and oversized posters. It also contains press clippings including ones mounted for display, others that are pasted-up originals and archival originals (copies). There are also TheaterWorks magazines and newsletters, PR and press listings, marketing documents and press packets. The records are spread out over the inclusive dates. Most of these records were created as part of marketing and publicity campaigns for specific productions or events.

  9. Audio/Visual media, 1975 -- 1990

    This series contains reel-to-reel, VHS, KCA60 videotape and audiotape recordings of selected productions, and recordings for sound design including effects and musical cues. The records span the inclusive dates. Some of these records were created to be used in productions and others were created as records of the productions, including some collaborative projects with Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

  10. Unprocessed accessions, 1982