Theatre at the University of British Columbia traces its roots to the institution’s first year of operation. In November 1915 Frederic G.C. Wood organized the Players’ Club, the first all-student drama society in Canada. By 1920, the tradition of offering a spring tour was well established and the Players’ Club staged performances in many parts of the province that lacked regular access to theatrical productions.

In 1933, a new group, the Players’ Club Alumni, under the direction of J.V. Clyne was established “to gather in all past and future members of the Players’ Club and weld them into a permanent theatre”.

Although both the Players’ Club and Players’ Club Alumni groups carried on into the mid-1960s, their efforts were largely superseded by the more formal academic theatre program that emerged on campus beginning in the late 1950s.

As early as the mid-1930s there was a subtle shift away from performance in drama to formal instruction at UBC and elsewhere. At UBC this transformation coincided with the arrival of Dorothy Somerset who, in the later 1930s, became the first person hired by the Extension Department where she offered theatre courses. Later in the decade the activities were expanded as part of the Extension Department’s Summer School of Theatre program. Eventually theatre courses were offered in the English Department and in 1958, the University established a Theatre Department.

This historical resource provides information pertaining to the history of theatre at UBC, lists of productions for which we have copies of programs and/or photographs, as well as associated historical resources.

Poster for Players' Club production of "You and I", 1925
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