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Celebrating the Life

March 27, 2014 - 11:33am

A familiar name from the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin is being celebrated through scholarship resulting from a lifelong commitment to the study of theatre.

In conjunction with the Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism in the Department of Theatre and Dance, The Fine Arts Library announces the opening of the Oscar G. Brockett archive.

The archive includes roughly thirty boxes of personal papers and documentation, teaching notes, book notes, research, photographs, negatives, slides, prints, and scrapbooks related mostly to Brockett’s family life and his worldwide travels, along with a selection of volumes from Brockett’s personal library.

Also included among the materials are drafts, manuscripts, records and correspondence that belonged to Oscar Brockett’s wife and collaborator, writer and scholar, Lenyth Brockett, as well as financial records, personal papers, and correspondence that belonged to Mark Pape, a friend, professional colleague and co-writer of the book “World Drama.”

Oscar G. Brockett is the author of “History of the Theatre” (1968), the first widely adopted textbook to examine physical performance and social practices — rather than just the literary tradition — across the history of theatre.  The text is now in its 10th edition has been translated into many languages including Hebrew, Farsi and Korean.

Brockett earned his doctorate in theatre from Stanford and began his teaching career at the University of Kentucky, followed by positions in Iowa, Indiana, Florida, California and the United Kingdom.  He was the dean of the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin from 1978-1980, and was a professor of theatre and dance and head of the doctoral program for theatre history in the university’s department of Theatre & Dance until his retirement in 2006.  The Oscar G. Brockett Theatre in the Winship Building on campus was dedicated in his honor in April 2001. He passed away in 2010.

Brockett was instrumental in the early development of scholarly organizations dedicated to theatre education.  In 2011, the first Oscar G. Brockett Essay Prize was jointly awarded by the American Society for Theatre Research and the Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism.

He authored and co-authored a number of other books related to theatre including “The Essential Theatre,” “Modern Theatre: Realism and Naturalism to the Present,” “The Theatre: An Introduction” and most recently “Making the Scene: A History of Stage Design and Technology in Europe and the United States” (2010), written with Margaret A. Mitchell and Linda Hardberger.

A celebration of the archive’s opening will occur from 5-7 p.m., Friday, April 4, in the Fine Arts Library’s Roberts Reading Room, featuring comments from friends, colleagues and former students including Austin American-Statesman columnist Michael Barnes, playwright John Fleming and Brockett’s co-author of “Making the Scene,” Margaret Mitchell. 

The Oscar G. Brockett Archive finding aid

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