From the foundation of the dramatic club in 1926 to the establishment of an independent academic Department of Theatre and Speech in 1963, the William and Mary Theatre experienced many changes as it grew from an extracurricular pursuit into a degree-granting program. Developments in facilities, curriculum, and local theatrical activity all contributed to shaping the organization of the department. This investigation uses information from faculty memoirs, course catalogs, departmental reports to presidents, and news publications to argue that many external factors influenced the particular way in which this department manifested. This work is intended to contribute to a broader literature of histories chronicling the ways in which new disciplines and departments can become integrated into higher education institutions. Conclusions propose that forthcoming changes to William and Mary’s curriculum and physical campus could again change the face of theatrical education at the college.

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