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Uncovered: Emerson Stage, A History

By Matt Noel

Emerson Stage will produce 8 productions this coming season. Recently, we have been going through the archives of Emerson Stage. We have found files that date all the way back to the 1989-1990 season. 22 years ago! That year seems unimaginable in my head – mainly because I was not even alive yet, but that is another story.

One of the most interesting things I find about going through the archives is seeing what shows Emerson has produced over the past 22 years and seeing if there were any duplications. We have so far discovered a full production history including the show title, director, venue, and production dates for every season since 1989 except for a few years in the mid 1990s, but I am sure those files will be uncovered soon enough.

We have produced over 200 productions since 89-90 and the most interesting things I have taken from this journey into the past is how the season has morphed over the years and changed, but at the same time follows about the same model. We have always produced a spring musical, usually in the Majestic, and it is always around the same time in April. The New Works Festival, or Newfest, is always done about 1-3 weeks before the spring musical. Every season has had at least 1 dance show in it and many years had 2!

So far amongst all of those productions I have only uncovered a few shows that we have produced twice. Emerson Stage produced Six Characters in Search of an Actor in November of 1991 and October of 2009, Into the Woods in April of 1991 and April of 2010, and this coming season will mark the second time we have produced Caryl Churchill’s play Cloud Nine, after previously producing it in November of 1989.

We have tweaked numerous things over the years, from the number of shows we do to where we perform them, improving little by little every year to do things better next time, and from what we have learned we are proud to produce next year’s season. Please come and join us and celebrate the young theater artists here at Emerson as we enter our 2011-2012 season. The season begins on October 20, 2011 with Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchil in the Semel Theater directed by Maureen Shea.


Periodically, we will bring you some facts, figures, and other fun tidbits from a portion of our archives. Currently being catalogued and organized by Emerson Stage Office Assistants, Matt, Jenna, and Christine, all Emerson College students, the archives are shedding new light on old activities. Hopefully you enjoyed Matt’s post above. Take a look at other posts about the archives by clicking “Uncovered” in the Categories menu to the left and check back often for new posts!

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