UA 6.1




1.26 linear feet (3 document cases) moving image materials


The Department of Communication Studies and Theatre offers majors in Theatre or Speech Communication with an optional emphasis in Speech. This collection is composed of materials produced by the Communication Studies and Theatre Department. Included is material related to the Prairie Repertory Theatre and State University Theatre.

Historical Note

Speech courses have always been a part of the South Dakota State University curriculum. In the earliest years, the preparatory department offered courses in public speaking to high school students, and the English Department offered courses in public speaking and rhetoric, including elocution and oral reading. Through the years, various other departments took responsibility for the public speaking courses, including the Elocution and Physical Culture Department, the Public Speaking Department, and the English Department. A Speech Department first appeared in the 1924 catalog, offering courses in debate, speaking, and play production. Required courses in rhetoric were taught by the English Department until 1938 when they were placed into the speech department.

By the 1950's, the Speech Department was well established on campus. The Board of Regents approved the speech major in 1958, and a master's degree was also available. Courses were taught in forensics, drama and radio. Film and television instruction began soon after. In the 1970's the communication disorders program, which prepared students to teach or provide therapy in speech, hearing and speech language was established as part of the department.

In addition to formal course work in speech, extracurricular activities involving the department have flourished on campus. In the early years, speech and literary societies sponsored most plays and debates, which were a major source of entertainment on campus. After such societies disappeared, students continued to participate in debate and theatre, taking part in competitions and many theatrical productions. Students also worked for the State College broadcasting system and work for the campus radio station KAGY.

Since the early 1990's, the department has been known as the Communication Studies and Theatre Department. Programs in speech communication, speech education and theatre are offered, as is the radio, television and film program, which focus on production. Many opportunities for extracurricular activities are also offered through the department.

Content Notes

This collection consists of items materials produced by the various programs offered by the Communication Studies and Theatre Department. Folders include pamphlets, programs, and newsletters. The bulk of the material is related to the Prairie Repertory Theatre and State University Theatre. This material includes playbills, posters, ticket information, calendars, programs, and correspondence. Some items of note consist of bound books of theatre seasons for the Prairie Repertory Theatre. These books cover the 1971-2002 summer theatre seasons and include copies of programs, clippings, and photographs from plays.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

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South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.