Child Drama Collection renamed to Theatre for Youth and Community Collection

Published Jan. 17, 2024

A recent name change is bringing new energy to a renowned ASU Library collection. The ASU Library’s Child Drama Collection was renamed the Theatre for Youth and Community Collection. Founded in 1979, the collection is the world's largest archival repository of manuscripts, ephemera and educational materials that document the international history of professional theatre for young audiences, youth theatre, theatre education, and community-engaged theatre practices. 

A curator with a display board of costume elements from a play, including a colorful coral and seashell wreath.
Performing Arts Librarian Caelin Ross showing a piece from the Theatre for Youth and Community Collection 

“This beloved collection has been important for the Phoenix metropolitan as well as the international theatre community,” said Caelin Ross, performing arts librarian and curator for the collection. “The addition of the word ‘community’ to the collection reflects how ASU students are expanding the field, and how youth are vital to the community.” 

Ross emphasized how ASU students bring their diverse interests to the program and the need for the collection to evolve to support their work.

“The field continues to become rich in terms of genre–including eco theatre, intergenerational work, queerness, social justice, theatre for the very very young, and more," added Ross.

Ross holds a BA in Theatre and Drama with an emphasis on Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MSLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As the curator for the collection, Ross’ work builds off the many decades of care from librarian Marilyn Wurzburger, Katherine Krzys and Lin Wright, who was the former chair of the ASU Department of Theatre.

“I want to recognize the incredible curators and people who worked for decades to establish, grow and preserve this collection to make it what it has become today,” added Ross. “It is an honor to steward this collection to continue making it relevant for the ASU and theatre community today.”

The Theatre for Youth and Community contains collections from playwrights, professional theatre companies, theatre for young audience scholars and national organizations. Notable collections include Childsplay and the David Saar and Yellow Boat Collection, Jonathan Levy and Irene Corey.

“I hope the ASU and theatre communities can continue to discover and learn from this collection. We want people to engage with the collection for a variety of creative research. I especially want to engage a new generation of theatre artists, educators, archivists and community builders. There are so many stories that have not historically been included in the collection and I hope to change that,” said Ross.

Discover the Theatre for Youth and Community Collection at Archives Wednesday

ASU students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend Archives Wednesday on Jan. 24, an open house inside Hayden Library’s Wurzburger Reading Room. This event provides an opportunity to see special materials up close and discover unique stories from the youth theatre community. Learn more and RSVP to Archives Wednesday.