Collection F2126 - Trinity College Dramatic Society Collection

Identity area

Reference code



Trinity College Dramatic Society Collection


  • 1985 - (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.48 m of textual records and other material

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

A Trinity College Dramatic Club was formed in 1892 at the University of Trinity College (Toronto, Ontario), apparently under the auspices of Lally McCarthy (a Trinity College graduate of the same year). The Dramatic Club produced plays in Toronto and toured Guelph, Woodstock, Brantford, and Hamilton in 1894, ultimately bankrupting itself later that year.

The Trinity College Dramatic Society (TCDS) is known to have existed as early as 1919, with annual productions beginning in 1921. Little is currently known about dramatic activities at the University of Trinity College during the years between the insolvency of the Dramatic Club in 1894 and the emergence of the TCDS, but a few records exist – and are described within this collection – testifying to the existence of dramatic activities, however casual, during those years.

In 1921 the operation of the Hart House Theatre at the University of Toronto was transferred from The Player’s Club to the Board of Syndics. Trinity College had federated with the University of Toronto seven years earlier and sought to obtain the Hart House Theatre, under its new management, as the venue for its annual productions. Since the opening of the George Ignatieff Theatre (GIT) in 1979, it has formed the main venue for the TCDS’ productions. However, plays have also been held in Cartwright Hall (at Saint Hilda’s College), the quadrangle, Seeley Hall, and the chapel.

Over the years, the TCDS’ activities have increased. At first, one play was produced per year. Later, two or three additional short or student-authored plays were also produced per year. Nowadays several major productions are mounted every school year, as well as special events such as an orientation (or frosh) week play and “Shakespeare in the Quad.” The TCDS arranges the College’s contributions to various intra- or inter-university drama festivals and organizes events such as play readings, workshops, screenings, revues, and parties. Every year, the TCDS celebrates students’ involvement in dramatic endeavours with the “Iggies” (short for “Ignatieff”), an award ceremony in the style of the Academy Awards, where students are presented with “Iggy Awards.”

All students of Trinity College are automatically members of the TCDS and events are mainly student-run. An elected executive handles the administration of the TCDS.

Archival history

Records which now comprise this collection were previously a myriad of small accessions received from almost as many sources, including students, alumni, faculty, and staff. In some cases the donor of the material is unknown. However, in many instances not only is the donor known, these donors were involved in the production to which the records they donated pertained. These donors were directors, stage managers, make-up designers, set designers, lighting designers, actors, TCDS Executive members, theatre managers, and so on. The multitude of tiny accessions were not conducive to access or the astute management of the records over time, and often were of less significance by themselves than in relation to other TCDS records (that is, they did not already form parts of meaningful fonds) so this collection was created.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

As described in the “acquisition history” note above, this collection has been created from many sources. It would be impossible to determine all of the donors who contributed material that is now in this collection, but a fairly comprehensive list has been established and is given in the “Provenance access points” field.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This collection consists of scrapbooks, administrative records, and records of productions and events. Records of productions and events comprise the bulk of this collection and include programs, posters, scripts, newspaper clippings, sound recordings, photographs, and more.
Contains series:

  1. Scrapbooks
  2. Administrative Records
  3. Productions and Events
  4. Special Productions
  5. Non-TCDS Records

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Arrangement of most series and files was imposed by the archivist. In many cases, original order had been lost or was indiscernible. Within some files, original order has been preserved, as in the case of most administrative records. Scrapbooks are also in their original arrangement. As a consequence of the rearrangement of materials, all file titles were supplied by the archivist. Square brackets, i.e. [ ], were only used when information on the file title was guessed or determined from outside sources, in addition to other notations (such as question marks) in accordance with Rules for Archival Description.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access


Conditions governing reproduction

Various copyright holders. It is the researcher's responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the collection.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Includes over 300 posters, ca. 200 b & w photographs, ca. 30 colour photographs, 15 vinyl records, 5 audiocassettes, 4 negatives, 2 reel-to-reel tapes, and 2 compact discs.

Finding aids

Finding aids: In addition to this finding aid, rough file lists for internal use exist which link files to their original accessions. (Accession numbers also often appear on file titles and on the reverse of programs, tickets, posters, and etc.) While also described in this document, an inventory of TCDS posters and a page-by-page list of the scrapbooks’ contents also exist. Consult the archivist for more information. This finding aid has a few important features:
 In this document (and in the internal file lists), productions are identified by play title, author’s name, and director’s name, except where one or two of these elements are unknown. Names are given in full (given name and surname) except where the full name is unknown or redundant (e.g. Shakespeare).
 While possibly unconventional, in some cases dates have been identified by school year (e.g. “2003-2004 school year”). This has only been done when the dates are not otherwise identifiable or estimable.
 This finding aid identifies folders with three numbers (e.g. 1-1-1). These numbers indicate series, box, and folder, respectively. Photos with “P” numbers (e.g. P2337) are, however, identified by that number, and oversize material is identified only to the box-level (e.g. “Oversize Box 1”).
 Within Oversize Box 2 (which almost exclusively consists of posters), material is lumped into folders by date ranges, but in this finding aid the folder/unit title gives the name of the production in order to maintain consistency with standard-sized folders.

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • Unprocessed photos, including photos of TCDS events, can be found in accession 1985-0071 of fonds 2129 (W. Lyndon Smith).
  • Correspondence between the TCDS and Caput can be found in accession 1985- 0141 of fonds 2176 (Caput).
  • Materials in multiple media related to productions of Saints Alive in 1949, 1952, 1974, and 1989 can be found in accessions 2003-0013 and 2008-0027 of fonds 2304 (Donna J. Haley).
  • Relevant correspondence can be found in accession 2004-0037 (from Mary K. Bull).
  • Clippings which mention Hart House productions Britannicus, Children of Darkness, and Tiger at the Gates can be found in accession 2004-0012 of fonds 2271 (Marion Magee).
  • A subject file on the TCDS can be found in accession 1991-0012 of fonds 1008 (Dean of St Hilda’s College).
  • Material related to drama (but not really the TCDS) can be found in accession 1985-0188 of fonds 2089 (William Selby Rogers).
  • Photos of the performance of Aristophanes’ Frogs in 1902 (P1193).
    Related groups of records in the same fonds: A box of excess material (e.g. triplicate or quadruplicate copies of programs, posters, etc.) exists. Consult the archivist for more information.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Abbreviations: Throughout this document “TCDS” is used in place of “Trinity College Dramatic Society” and “GIT” is used in place of “George Ignatieff Theatre.”

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion



  • English



Accession area

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