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Drama/Theatre for the Young program records

Identifier: 05.DTFY

Scope and Contents

The Drama/Theatre for the Young collection contains information on alumni; awards; faculty; productions, both mainstage and touring; financial records; student projects; and program administration for the Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young (ADTY) program which offers courses to undergraduate and graduate students within the Department of Communication, Media & Theatre Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Michigan University.

The collection is arranged alphabetically and is divided into eight series. Records date from 1962 to 2012. It is a comprehensive but not complete record of the programs.

The eight series in the collection are: Alumni Files; Award Nominations; Faculty and Lecturer Files; Grant Applications; Production Files; Professional and Community Engagement; Program Administration, and Visual and Audio Materials. The Alumni Files series includes subseries of Graduates A-L and Graduates M-Z. The Faculty series includes five subseries that documents the work of the full time faculty members and are listed in alphabetical order, with their years of employment with the university listed after their names. Christine Tanner who has been a member of the ADTY faculty since is not documented in the Faculty Files series, her work can be found in the touring production files for The Bully Show.

The Production Files series includes three subseries of Mainstage Productions, Touring Productions and Classroom Performances which includes thank you notes from classrooms. The production files are listed alphabetically and in some instances include materials from different years of the same play. Some productions include director's notes, programs, and preparatory materials for educators like study guides and activities; others many only have one of these aforementioned examples.

The Professional Engagement and Outreach series has four subseries: Conferences Attended, Conferences Hosted, Special Events and Professional Organizations. Which includes writings from faculty and adjuncts, programs, schedules, and planning documents. The Program Administration series has six subseries: Financial Records, Marketing Materials, Program Review, Research and Historical Files, Publications, Student Work and Organizations. The Student work subseries includes final projects, theses, and other graduate assistant projects. There is some overlap in this series with the Alumni files. The Visual and Audio Materials series is organized by format and includes cassette tapes, photographs, negatives, and slides. Most of these materials have not been identified but have been rehoused.

Overall, the collection provides documentation of the development of both the field of drama and theatre for young and intergenerational audiences, as well as the degree program at Eastern Michigan University. The faculty documented in the collection and their varied interests in applied drama and theatre are not only a good representation of the field but also the changing nature and understanding of the application of drama and theatre. Students in the program not only came to Eastern Michigan with varied interests and talents but have gone on apply the knowledge gained in the program in a variety of ways, as documented in the alumni files in addition to their connection with faculty advisors whom many remained in close contact with over the years.


  • Creation: 1962 - 2014


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Historical Note

The Drama and Theatre for the Young graduate program was founded at Eastern Michigan University in the early 1960s. The first performance was 1964, Many Moons, directed by program founder Virginia Glasgow Koste. The program focuses drama and theatre in terms of developmental purposes, community engagement, theatre for young participants, and theatre for intergenerational audiences. Students in the program work with local schools, and are involved with traveling productions, as well as main stage performances. Many students end up directing their own productions, or even writing their own scripts as part of their theses or final projects.

Faculty Biographies

Jessica "Decky" Alexander, 1994-Present. Alexander received her BA in Theatre and Sociology from Lawrence University in 1991, and a MFA in Drama/Theatre for the Young from Eastern Michigan University in 1996. Her research focuses on the use of theatre for faculty development: community performance; community art and activism, and academic service-learning. In 1997, Alexander founded Eastern Michigan University's CloseUP Theatre Troupe, which travels to universities and colleges performing. In 2008, in collaboration with th eFAculty Development Center at EMU, founded C2 (CloseUP Classroom) a performing ensemble of faculty and students who create theatre for faculty on issues related to teaching and learning. Alexander is the recipient of the Ronald Collins Distinguished Faculty Award for Service, the 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Honor Award, the 2007 Alumni Teaching Award, the 2007 SACLU Washtenaw County Civil Liberties Champion Award, the 2005 Institutional Values Award for Diversity, Multicultural and Human Dignity, the 2002 Division of Enrollment Services Faculty Award, and the Gold Medallion Outstanding Faculty Award, in 1998. Alexander is active in her professional organizations presenting on numerous topics over the past 5 years.

Virginia Glasgow Michilak Koste, 1962-1987. Virginia "Ginny" Glasgow Koste was born into a family of stage performers and spent her entire life working in theatre and theatre education. She earned her BS from Vassar College and her MA from Wayne State University. Koste founded EMU's Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young (they known as Theatre of the Young or TOY) becoming the first of its kind in Michigan. The first production put on by the new program was Many Moons directed by Koste. Koste is known within the profession for her playwriting, receiving the prestigious Charlotte B. Chorpenning Cup for a distinguished body of work in playwriting for young audiences and the Distinguished Play Award for The Chicago Gypsies. Koste taught at Eastern Michigan University for 25 years, retiring in 1986. During her tenure she taught courses in improvisation, theatre for children, advanced improvisation, and a seminar for dramatic arts for children. She also wrote and directed numerous plays including: Many Moons, Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland, Alice in Wonder, The Dragon, The Trial of Tom Sawyer.

Thelma McDaniel, 1961-1986. McDaniel grew up in Staten Island New York and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1946 with a major in the Dramatic Arts. She earned her MA from Eastern Michigan University in 1964 with an emphasis in elementary education, and joined the faculty of EMU in 1961 in the then named Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts. McDaniel worked to help develop outreach programs within the Theatre of the Young program, which has lead to productions touring into areas schools and community centers every year since 1968. She also wrote and directed a number of touring productions, which include: Let's Go Movin' On, Rain, Wind and Sun Tales, A Magic To Do, and All One. She also wrote play adaptations to The Wind in the Willows and Little Women, which both premiered as mainstage productions. In 1980, McDaniel collaborated with Dr. Sandra McClennan of the Department of Special Education to design a developmental drama program for mentally impaired adults that utilized simple dramatic exercises of sound, sense and movement. The program was made possible by McDaniel's Faculty Research Fellowship and McClennan's sabbatical leave. She retired from EMU in 1986, but remained active in children's theatre at the state, national, and international level, with particular involvement in the American Alliance for Theatre Education, the National Drama and Therapy Association, and the International Amateur Theatre Association. She is the recipient of the prestigious Creative Drama for Human Awareness Award presented by the American Alliance for Theatre Education.

Karen Smith-Meyer, 1986-2001. Smith-Meyer received her B.F.A. in acting and directing from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and her M.A. and M.F.A. in Drama/Theatre For the Young (DTFY) from Eastern Michigan University. Smith-Meyer was the very first person to be enrolled in, and graduate from, EMU’s DTFY program with her M.F.A. She joined the faculty of EMU in the then named Communication and Theatre Arts department in 1986, and was well known for her love of students and strong commitment to multiculturalism, both in the classroom and in her productions. She directed many touring and mainstage productions for young and intergenerational audiences including: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and The Prince, The Wolf, and The Firebird. Smith-Meyer began writing her own original plays and adaptations which included both touring productions--Home Free!, A Comedy of Manners, and Timely Tales of Bullies and Other Beasts--and the mainstage production of A Christmas Carol. She mentored young playwrights, worked with at risk children and incarcerated adolescents and during her time at EMU she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in: improvisation, storytelling, directing, drama in education, children’s theatre and the history and theory of developmental drama and theatre. Karen Smith-Meyer died 1 May 2001 from complications from a stroke.

Christine S. Tanner, 2002-Present. Tanner completed her PhD in Theatre & Cinematic Arts at Bringham Young University in 1985 and came to the faculty of EMU with nearly two decades of experience working as a middle school Drama, English, and Choir teacher as well as a theatre artists and administrator. Since joining the EMU faculty in 2002, Tanner has directed a British Panto version of Pinocchio, The Bully Show, Real Friends, Who’s Capable?, launched the “Box Theatre Company” and wrote and directed Walking the Dog. She received academic fellowships both in academic service learning and with the Department of Justice through ISCIF,was the recipient of a New Faculty Research award in 2003, Service to the University Award in 2006, and four time recipient of the Most Valuable Professor award from EMU’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams. While director of the Riverside Arts Project, she created and oversaw a variety of arts events as part of an economic development program for downtown Ypsilanti.

Patricia Moore Zimmer, 1980-Present. Zimmer received her BFA in Theatre from the University of Evansville in 1976, and completed her MFA in Directing from Florida State University in 1979 where she had the opportunity to work with V. Glasgow Koste who was there during a leave from EMU. She has been directing and writing plays for young and intergenerational audiences for more than 30 years and some of her recent and ongoing professional interests include theatre for preschool audiences, professional development for directors, the nature of creativity, religion and the arts, and new play development in Theatre for Young Audiences. She has served as a reader/adjudicator for two national playwriting competitions, the Bonderman Playwriting for Youth National Competition and the American Alliance for Education’s Distinguished Play Award. Zimmer has written and adapted several plays done by the Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young Program including: Ask For the Moon, Arm In Arm, A Wrinkle In Time and Shaking Earth.

Zimmer is a former editor of Stage of the Art (SOTA), a major publication of AATE. She is an active member of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education as well as TYA/USA (the U.S. Center for ASSITEJ). She has been invited to direct and teach in South Korea, where she was a guest artist/instructor at the Korean National University of Arts. In Taiwan, she led workshops for the Taipei International Children’s Festival. She is a recipient of EMU’s Josephine Nevins Keal Award and the Provost’s Artistic Recognition Award. She spent a recent sabbatical leave working on a playwriting project rooted in the history of Missouri sharecroppers in the late 1930s. Zimmer was instrumental in bringing the records of the ADTY to the Eastern Michigan University.


73 Linear Feet (13 record center cartons, 10 archives boxes, 3 oversized boxes, 4 slide boxes, 7 oversize folders, 1 object. )

Language of Materials



The Drama/Theatre for the Young collection documents the Applied Theatre and Drama for the Young (ADTY) program at Eastern Michigan University in which students can receive a Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, or a Bachelor of Arts in applied drama and theatre for young and intergenerational audiences. The program gives students a chance to focus on how theatre effects development, intergenerational theatre audiences as well as opportunities to direct or write their own productions. The collection is arranged alphabetically and is divided into eight series. The eight series that are included in the collection are: Alumni Files; Award Nominations; Faculty and Lecturer Files; Grant Applications; Production Files; Professional and Community Engagement; Program Administration and Visual and Audio Materials. Records date from 1962 to 2012.

Accruals note

University Archives continues to add materials to the collection. To reflect additions, edits to the finding aid will occur at the end of each calendar year.

The majority of materials were collected from the Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young (ADTY) office 2012 February 14. Additional materials were acquired from program alumni Brian Steimel 2014 March 18 which can be found in the Alumni Files series; Brian Steimel subseries.

Related Materials note

The alumni and current students of the Drama/Theatre for the Young program at Eastern Michigan University keep an active Facebook page, that includes historical photographs of past performances.

Community Engaged Performance 2009--

Community Performance Project 2011--

Applied Theatre Portfolio 2013--

The Child Drama Collection at Arizona State University include some of J. Glasgow Koste’s materials as well as the materials of numerous professional organizations, playwrights, directors, and influential professors. Additional information can be found at the collection website:

Main State and Touring Productions

A List of Main Stage and Touring Productions can be found at the end of the PDF version of the finding aid, found at

If you have any information that can help identify production dates, writer(s) and/or director(s) please contact the University Archives so that we can improve the list of productions.


AATE American Alliance for Theatre & Education (formerly known as AATY) ADTY Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young ASSITEJ International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People ATA American Theatre Association CTFA Children’s Theatre Foundation of America CTAA Children’s Theatre Association of America CTOY Caravan Theatre of the Young DTFY Drama/Theater for the Young IATA International Amateur Theatre Association LTOY Little Theatre of the Young MDEE Michigan Drama Educational Exchange NADT North American Association for Drama Therapy SSTA Secondary School Theatre Association (SSTA), formerly known as SSTC) TAAC The Alternative Arts Collective TFY Theatre for the Young TYA/USA Theatre for Young Audiences (formerly known as ASSITEJ/USA)

Processing Information

Rehousing of the collection was completed by University of Michigan School of Information Graduate Student, Jesyka Palmer.

Drama/Theatre for the Young program records
Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young program records
Alexis Braun Marks, CA and Elizabeth Searls
2014 March 27
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197