SCUA News

Special Collections and University Archives

by Patrick Dollar

Founded in 1999, Triad Stage is a regional theatre located in downtown Greensboro. In September 1999, Triad Stage purchased downtown Greensboro’s Montgomery Ward building, built in 1936 and vacant for almost 40 years. Triad Stage began renovations on the building in 2001. After the renovations, Triad Stage’s building included a 300-seat theatre, rehearsal hall, offices, and lobbies.

The theatre’s grand opening occurred in January 2002, with a production of Tennessee Williams’s “Suddenly Last Summer.” In 2008, Triad Stage completed additional renovations to the Pyrle Theater. Renovations included adding a scene shop annex, the creation of a 90-seat Upstage Cabaret performance space, and the creation of a rehearsal hall and studio for WUNC Radio’s Greensboro Bureau.

In 2011, Triad Stage purchased a 30,000 square foot building near the Greensboro Coliseum Complex to serve as the theater’s new production facility, relocating its scene, costume and properties shops as well as its warehouse.

In June 2019, Patrick Dollar, archivist, began discussions with the head of the Triad Stage Board of Directors of Triad Stage. In March 2021, Patrick and Stacey Krim, Manuscripts Curator, took a van and picked up 45 boxes that were being stored at the Triad Stage offices.  Patrick spent 6 months processing, arranging and describing the materials in the collection.

The collection includes publicity and marketing materials, newspaper clippings, playbills, photographs, and scale models set designs from Triad Stage’s history. Processing the collection was a chance to stroll through Greensboro’s theatre history, with many regionally and national recognized names appearing.

Not only does the collection encapsulate the artistic history of the organization, but it also, also captures the Greensboro reception of plays, which could vary widely. The press clippings for each play are an invaluable insight into the theatre culture of Greensboro and the region. Triad Stage rightly earns its reputation for prompting conversation and debate among theatregoers about the artistic merits of productions, staging many lesser-known plays alongside well-recognized favorites, and serving as a showcase for plays written by local artists documenting Appalachian culture.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the collection is the set design models, created to visualize how the set (and potentially some costumed actors) would look in the Pyrle Theater. The models date from 2002-2019 and give researchers a first-hand look into how painstakingly each play is brought to life at Triad Stage. Audrey Sage, head of Preservation Services, cleaned the models and crafted custom enclosures to insure their long-term preservation. 

The collection will be an extremely valuable resource, as performing arts is one of SCUA’s strongest collecting areas. This collection complements many of our other theatre collections, including the Robert C. Hansen Performing Arts Collection. SCUA plans to immediately incorporate the Triad Stage Records into theatre and English courses visiting Special Collections. To view what materials are in the collection, please visit the finding aid here: https://uncg.as.atlas-sys.com/repositories/2/resources/737.

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