Laura Bird papers
Scope and Content note
The Laura Bird papers documents the research of Eastern Michigan University alumna in completing her dissertation about the Ypsilanti Greek Theatre that was established and associated with sesquicentennial celebration of the city of Ypsilanti. Materials in the collection are divided chronologically into three series: Board or Directors, Festival/Theatre Information and Oral History Interviews.
The Board of Directors series consists of meeting agendas and minutes from the 1960s, primarily 1966-68; funding information; notes from President John Mayhew, and records from the speakers bureau.
The Festival/Theatre Information series consists of planning, production and product materials. Planning materials documents committes involved, feasibility study insight, and finances. Production records include biographies, building and grounds information, photographs and programs. Product materials including newspaper articles, press releases and reviews.
The Oral History Interviews includes notes, board lists, correspondence, interviews, question and consent forms and material connecting the Ypsi Greek Theatre to Stratford.
The collection does not contain a copy of the dissertation The Ypsilanti Greek Theatre, 1963-68 submitted to Michigan State University in 1999 by Laura Bird.
- 1960 - 1970
- Majority of material found within 1963 - 1967
Laura C. Hansen Bird was born in 1963 and grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She attended Eastern Michigan University in the 1980s, earning both an undergraduate and a master's degree. She went on to earn a PhD from Michigan State University in 1999. Her dissertation The Ypsilanti Greek Theatre, 1963-1968 was submitted to Michigan State University under the advisement of Frank C. Rutledge. She developed the Theatre program at Concordia College in Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently serves as the theatre manager and teacher at the Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
History of the Ypsilanti Greek Theatre
The Ypsilanti Greek Theatre, sometimes referred to as the Ypsilanti Greek Festival, was an organization existing roughly from 1963 to 1967, whose purpose was to bring about a revival of the ancient Greek dramatic tradition in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Ypsilanti Greek Theatre was included in the celebrations planned for the Ypsilanti sesquicentennial celebration. The celebration was designed in part to transform Ypsilanti into an economic, cultural, and educational center, the sesquicentennial did spur long-term plans to increase tourism, attract businesses, and create new educational facilities. As part of this vision, in 1963 a group of people organized, dedicating themselves to the revival of Greek drama. They drew widespread support over the next two years and were able to convert a baseball staduim into a theatre simulating a Hellenistic Greek Theatre by the summer of 1965. Alexis Solomos, former director of the Greek National Theatre in Athens, became the artistic director, and many prominent local people served as officers including Mrs. Clara Owens, the president of the Ypsilanti Greek Theatre.
The Theatre produced Aeschylus' The Oresteia and Aristophanes' The Birds which included performances by some well-known actors such as Dame Jusith Anderson, Ruby Dee, and Burt Lahr. Despite its artistic success, the Ypsilanti Greek Theatre failed after its first season due to monetary problems and mismanagement. Mrs. Owens' relationship with the Board of Directors of the Ypsilanti Greek Theatre was less than harmonious; a number of conflicts arose usually centered around administrative decisions and the management of finances. The Ypsilanti Greek Theatre closed in 1967 having produced only one season.
0.6 Linear Feet (1 archive box, 1 slide box)
Language of Materials
The Laura Bird papers ranges in dates from 1960-1970, with the bulk of the material falling between 1963-1967. The collection contains the documentation collected during the original dissertation research process of EMU alumna Laura Bird regarding the short-lived life and production of the Ypsilanti Greek Theatre in celebration of the Ypsilanti sesquisentential. In 1999, Bird submitted her dissertation The Ypsilanti Greek Theatre, 1963-1968 to Michigan State University under the advisement of Frank C. Rutledge. The collection is a near complete record of the research.
- Alumni and alumnae
- Chicago Architectural Club (Architect) -- Administration
- Eastern Michigan Academic Committee (Contributor) -- Administration
- Eastern Michigan University
- Eastern Michigan University. Board of Regents (Contributor) -- Administration
- Jabbour Foundation (Contributor) -- Administration
- Mayhew, John (Consultant) -- Administration
- Owens, Clara, 1963- (Consultant to a project) -- Administration
- Sesquicentennial Celebration
- Women's Committee (Contributor) -- Administration
- Ypsilanti Greek Theatre
- Ypsilanti Greek Theatre (Associated name) -- History
- Ypsilanti Historic District Commission. City of Ypsilanti (Consultant to a project) -- Administration
- Laura Bird papers
- Mikayla Kies, Graduate Student at Simmons College School of Library and Information Science
- 2016 November 11
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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