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Society Hill Playhouse (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records

Collection ID

SCRC 245

Related Subject(s)

Collecting Area(s)


Collection Summary

Society Hill Playhouse (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records

1938-2016, bulk 1959-2016

Collection ID
SCRC 245

Society Hill Playhouse (Philadelphia, Pa.)

36 linear feet (36 boxes + 9 map folders), 1 GB

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English.  


Detailed Collection Information

Historical Note
Deen Kogan and husband, Jay, launched Society Hill Playhouse in 1959 as Philadelphia’s “off-Broadway” theatre for contemporary American and European playwrights. Gradually, it developed a niche in populist comedies, and Nunsense, scheduled for six weeks, ran for ten years. In cooperation with the City of Philadelphia, Society Hill Playhouse also presented major productions city-wide.  The Writers Project, beginning in 1962, was dedicated to developing new works. The Philadelphia Youth Theatre, 1970-1983, drew students from public, private, and parochial schools. Street Theatre, 1968-1970, brought plays to all the neighborhoods of Philadelphia using a flatbed truck as the stage. Content was structured for outdoor presentations reaching both children and adults.  Playwright and actor Susan Turlish was associated with the theater for several decades.

Society Hill Playhouse was located in the heart of the Society Hill District, housed in the historic former David Garrick Hall. The theater closed on April 1, 2016.

Description of Collection
The Society Hill Playhouse Records includes paper and electronic records, photographs, and audiovisual materials that document the theater’s productions and programs, including Street Theatre and Philadelphia Youth Theatre, from 1959 to 2013. There are varying levels of documentation for the different productions and programs, including a mix of planning records, musical scores, set designs drawings (by Igor Belinkoff), posters, playbills, and other promotional materials, clippings, photographs, and audiovisual recordings of rehearsals and performances, among other records.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 8 series as follows:

Series 1: General records, 1938, 1963-2016
Series 2: Financial records, 1965-2015
Series 3: Seasons and productions, 1960-2013
Series 4: Philadelphia Youth Theatre, 1982-1996
Series 5: Photographs and slides, 1960-1997, undated
Series 6: Audiovisual materials, circa 1970s-2000s
Series 7: Posters and set design drawings, 1979-2012, undated
Series 8: Digital materials, 2010-2016

Series 9: Accession 2017-11, 1965-2014

Series 10: Accession 2018 59, 1949-circa 1985

Patron Information

Catalog Record
A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog: https://temple-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?...

Research Access
Collection is open for research. However, the materials have not been completely organized and described for use and have not yet had any preservation actions taken on them. Only a box level inventory is available. There may also be partial restrictions due to third-party privacy issues. Interested patrons must contact the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) prior to their visit to see if the collection can be made available.
Collections Stored Off-Site
This collection may be housed off-site at the Library Depository, and require up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research.

Technical Access
Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy. Certain digital files may also be inaccessible. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Publication and Copyright Information
The Society Hill Playhouse Records are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. Intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Preferred Citation
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Society Hill Playhouse Records, SCRC 245, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Administrative Information

Donated by Society Hill Playhouse, via Deen Kogan, 2016.            

Processing Information
Collection has not been arranged; in original order. Only a box level inventory is available. All original boxes have been replaced; only folders in poor condition have been replaced. Collection has not been reviewed for restricted material; restrictions may apply at time of access. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information. Finding aid prepared by Courtney Smerz, Collection Management Archivist in December 2016. Finding updated in June 2017 and in March 2019 to include information about  accruals by Courtney Smerz, Collection Management Archivist. Finding Aid updated to include URL to calatalog record in May 2018.

Index Terms

The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog: 

Personal/Family Names:
Belinkoff, Igor
Kogan, Deen
Kogan, Jay
Turlish, Susan

Corporate Names:
Society Hill Playhouse (Philadelphia, Pa.)
The Philadelphia Youth Theatre

Musical theater
Street theater
Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery -- Drawings

Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types:
Administrative records
Born digital
Legal documents
Press releases
Set design drawings
Sheet music
Sound recordings
VHS (TM)      
Video recordings

Inventory, Society Hill Playhouse Records

Box                 Description

Series 1: General records, 1938, 1963-2016

1                    General records, including awards, correspondence (mostly incoming thank you letters), contract materials for traveling performances, and other records, 1938, 1963-2015
24                    Scrapbook, 1960s-1970s
25                    Scrapbook, 1960s-1970s
26                    Scrapbook, 1960s-1970s
27                    Awards, citations, and proclamations, 2009, 2016, undated
29                    Plaques, 1984-1986, undated

Series 2: Financial records, 1965-2015

2                    Financial records: Audit reports, grant files, and other records, 1965-2015

Series 3: Seasons and productions, 1960-2013

3                    Seasons and individual productions, 1960-1983
4                    Seasons and individual productions, 1983-1990
5                    Seasons and individual productions, 1989-1998
6                    Seasons and individual productions, 1998-2013
2                    Production files for Main Stage, Cabaret, and Fringe Festival, circa 2012

Series 4: Philadelphia Youth Theatre, 1982-1996

7                    Philadelphia Youth Theater, 1982-1996
8                    Philadelphia Youth Theater, 1982-1996          

Series 5: Photographs and slides, 1960-1997, undated

9                    Photographs, productions and programs: 1960-1980
10                    Photographs, productions and programs: 1974-1981
11                    Photographs, images of the building, contact sheets and negatives for productions and programs, 1970s-1980s
12                    Photographs, including Philadelphia Youth Theater, 1994-1997
13                    Photographs, negatives, contact sheets, productions and programs, 1960s-1990s
22                    Photographs, oversize and mounted, 1959, 1973, 1980s
23                    Photographs, oversize and mounted, 1960s-1970s
28                    Photographs, 1960s, undated
M7          B-E                    Photographs, oversize and mounted, 1960s-1990s, undated
14                    Slides, 1970s-1980s, undated
15                    Slides, 1980s-1990s, undated
16                    Slides, 1970s-1980s, undated

Series 6: Audiovisual materials, circa 1970s-2000s

17-21                    Audiovisual: VHS, cassette tapes, and film, circa 1970s-2000s

Series 7: Posters and set design drawings, 1979-2012, undated

27                    Set design drawings, undated
M7          B-E          Set design drawings, posters, and mounted clippings (7 map folders), 1979-2012

The following is an incomplete list of posters housed in map drawers B-E:

An American Season: All Over, Three Men on a Horse, Our Town, Conversations
Mother Courage, Brecht
20th Anniversary Season: The Freedom of the City by Brian Friel
You're a Good Man Charlie Brown
Threepenny Opera "Mack is Back"
Archy and Mehitabel, a musical
When You Comin' Back Red Ryder
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Andorra by Max Frisch
The Blacks by Jean Genet
Enter Solly Gold by Bernard Kops
Le Roi Jones' Dutchman and Arthur Kopt's Chamber Music
The Fantasticks
Peter Weiss' Marat Sade
Christopher Durang's Laughing Wild
Carless Love by John Olive, directed by John Albano
Commercial Museum in conjunction with Glimpses of Modern Germany
Farny and the Circus Children's Matinee
Mary O'Malley's Once a Catholic
The Changing Room
Manny by Walter Vail, The Corner by Frank Freda
Nunsense, the hilarious musical comedy "2nd Smash Year!", 1986
Nunsense "4th Smash Year!"
Nunsense, the new musical comedy hit by Dan Goggin
Kennedy's Children (September 21-October 29); good condition, 2 copies
Maeve Binchy's The Half Promised Land, 20th Anniversary Season
The Four Little Girls, a theatre piece by Picasso
Sartre's No Exit and Albee's The Zoo Story
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1978/1979
Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign In, Sidney Brustein's Window
“Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's hung you in the closet and i'm feelin' so saf" by Arthur Kopit
Annetta Lockhart's Pianist
Ugo Betti's Crime on Goat Island
Dark of the Moon
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
The Bedbug by Vladimir Mayakovsky
Gunter Grass' The Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising
Threepenny Opera: Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill, Marc Blitzstein
Little Mary Sunshine
Galileo, Brecht
The Waters of Babylon by John Arden
Jean-Paul Sartre Festival: The Respectful Prostitute, No Exit
The Devils by John Whiting, Lock up your Daughters by Lionel Bart, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
The Chinese Wall by Max Frisch
Ulysses in Nighttown by James Joyce, 25th Anniversary Season
Brian Friel's Volunteers
Jean Paul Sartre's The Flies
The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi arranged by Friedrich Durrenmatt
The Great White Hope
George Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion
Philadelphia Youth Treater 1978 presents Magical Mystery Tour!!
[Philadelphia Youth Theater]. Magical Mystery Tour, 1979
Nunsense “3rd Miraculous Year!"
Miracle at Graceland
Nunsense, the Second Coming...
Coming Next: The Fantasticks
Pump Boys & Dinettes, the Full Service Musical
The Making of Moo by Nigel Dennis
Cards of Identity by Nigel Dennis
Eh? Work is a Four Letter Word
Philadelphia Youth Theatre Alternative '76 Presents: A Western Version of William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors
Philadelphia Youth Theatre Alternative '75 Presents: Robin Good Hood
Philadelphia Youth Theatre Alternative Program's A Clockwork Orange
Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window
Jean-Paul Sartre's Nekrassov
Double Premiere: The Maids by Jean Genet and The Dumbwaiter by Harold Pinter
A New, Unusual Play: Momma, Look at Bang Bang by Frank Freda
Bent by Martin Sherman
The Crucible
God Bless Brendan Behan
Lamppost Reunion
Steambath by Bruce Jay Friedman
Christopher Durang's A History of American Film
Lovers Who Pay no Praise or Wages nor Heed my Craft or Art, a play by Sidney Michaels
Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot
T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral
The Hostage by Brendan Behan
Michael Weller's Loose Ends, 20th Anniversary Season
Nunsense "6th Smash Year"
Acting Classes for Your Children (draft)
School House Rock
Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect up?
Let Us Entertain You!! Season 2000-2001: Tapestry, the Music of Carol King and Lafferty's Wake
A Gay & Lesbian Musical Revue by Tom Wilson Weinberg
The Good Woman of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht
Uncle Vanya
Tapestry, the Music of Carole King
The Fantasticks Try to Remember...The Fantasticks
The Day Mary Shelley Met Charlotte Bronte or The Monster & Jane Eyre, Vol. 11 by Eduardo Manet
Allan Sherman's musical Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!
Will Stutts as Noel Coward at the Caffe de Paris
Nunsense. Now playing: Nunsense, fun for all!
Nunsense, 101 weeks Held Over!
Subscribe Now: 25th Anniversary Season
Sex Tips for Modern Girls
Viva la Vida (February 22 & 23); good condition
Nunsense by Dan Goggin Winner, Best Musical 1986
A Happy Musical from Bert Brecht and Kurt Weill: Happy End
Lear by Edward Bond
The Philadelphia Youth Program: The Magical Mystery Tour
The Philadelphia Youth Program: Waiting for Godot...on the corner...
Mystery Play, a farce by Jean Claude Van Itallie
Lovers by Dick Perry, Mr. Altschuler's Tree by Tom Oliver
The Bewitched, a play by Peter Barnes
‘Til Divorce Do Us Part
Lafferty's Wake
Branch, a baseball legend by Walt Vail, 2012
The Bridge Club by Richard Raskind, 2011
The Men of Mah Jongg by Richard Atkins
Aristophanes' The Birds
Star Spangled Girl, by Neil Simon
Sylvia Plath's Three Women
Nunsense (no dates)

Series 8: Digital Materials, 2010-2016

Processing of the small amount of digital materials in the Society Hill Playhouse Records is underway.  These materials primarily relate to Series 5: Photographs and slides and Series 3: Seasons and productions. Information about their content will be added to the finding aid shortly. In the interim, please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Series 9: Accession 2017 11, 1968-2014
30                    An American Adventure, correspondence and other records          1970s
30                    An American Adventure, script, includes annotated copy          circa 1975
30                    An American Adventure, photographs, ephemera for Freedom Week          1970s
30                    Street Theatre scrapbook          1969
30                     “Better Break ‘68”, Mayor’s Council on Youth Opportunity, City of Philadelphia          1968
30                    Printed materials and photographs          circa 1965-1995, undated
30                    Printed materials          2000-2013
30                    Printed materials          2004-2005
30                    Printed materials          2005-2006
30                    Printed materials          2009-2014
30                    Photographs          undated
M7e                    Photographs: Children watching street theater performance; promotional material for season, featuring Street Theater          1968-1970
M7e                    Posters: Macbeth, When You Coming Back Red Ryder?          undated

Series 10: Accession 2018 59, 1949-circa 1985

Accession 2018 59 includes a small amount of early planning and administrative records for the theatre, ephemera and printed materials by and about the theatre, clippings, play scripts, and other records dating from 1959 through the mid-1980s. Of note, is Jay and Deen Kogan’s original prospectus and investment plan for funding and opening the theatre.

31                    Miscellaneous early records, ephemera and printed materials, and clippings; also includes copies of Jay and Deen Kogan’s MA theses           circa 1959-1962

32                    Miscellaneous early records, includes Philadelphia Youth Theatre and Street Theatre; and numerous annotated play scripts          circa 1962-1980s

33                    Play scripts          circa 1960s

34                    The Threepenny Opera          undated

35                    Books; Barrymore Award; Anthony Award          1989, 2009

36                    Posters, photographs, set designs          circa 1980s-2000s, undated

M7e                    Posters, photographs, set designs          circa 1980s-2000s, undated