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Anchorage Community Theatre records

Guide to the Anchorage Community Theatre records

Collection number: HMC-1367.
Creator: Anchorage Community Theatre.
Title: Anchorage Community Theatre records.
Dates: 1953-2016.
Volume of collection: 3.5 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Materials in the collection are in English.
Collection summary: Records of a community theatre company in Anchorage, Alaska.

Organizational history:
Anchorage Community Theatre began in 1953 as Alaska Community Theatre, after founder Frank Brink left the Anchorage Little Theatre. Funding was difficult for the new organization, so Brink formed a partnership with the newly founded Anchorage Community College (ACC), that would allow the group to use Romig Hill Auditorium (now West High School Auditorium). The group became known as the Anchorage Community College Theatre Workshop, until in 1959, seeking distance from ACC, it changed its name to Anchorage Community Theatre, Inc (ACT).

In its early years, ACT had much success and was able to bring in professional actors for some of its shows, including Boris Karloff in Arsenic and Old Lace and Will Rogers, Jr. in Ah, Wilderness. In 1960, ACT officially parted ways with Anchorage Community College, and Brink began teaching drama at Alaska Methodist University (AMU). ACT and AMU collaborated on a number of shows, which were held in AMU’s auditorium. In 1960 ACT was also given land for its own venue and purchased a Quonset hut building package. The building was put up, but was not finished until 1966 when funding was provided to finish the interior. ACT sold the building in 1974 after it was having difficulty finding the money to pay for improvements.

In 1977 Frank Brink moved to Oregon, having turned the reins of ACT over to Robert Pond. In the 1980s, ACT moved their offices, construction workshop, storage, and rehearsal space to a warehouse on East 70th Avenue, but continued performing in Grant Hall at Alaska Pacific University (formerly AMU) and Sydney Laurence Auditorium in Downtown Anchorage. In 1994 Bob Pond passed the position of managing director to his daughter, Teresa Pond, who served in the position until 1998. In 2003, the cost of renting performance space became too high, and ACT renovated the warehouse space to include a black box studio theatre, where the group still performs. Since its beginnings in 1953 as Alaska Community Theatre, ACT has produced 266 shows.

Collection description:
This collection consists of records of a community theatre organization in Anchorage, Alaska. The collection is arranged into four series: administrative and historical files, programs and posters, photographs, and audio recordings. The administrative and historical files consist of materials related to the history and operation of ACT, including articles of incorporation, written histories of theatre in Anchorage, correspondence, and materials related to individual shows. The programs and posters include both season programs and programs for individual shows, as well as promotional posters. The photographs include prints and negatives of shows, rehearsals, and cast members. The audio and video recordings consist of reel-to-reel audio tapes and audiocassettes, as well as Hi-8 video cassettes and include individuals associated with ACT speaking about the history of the organization.

Series 1: Administrative and historical files; 1953-2016
Series 2: Programs and posters; 1954-2007
Series 3: Photographs; 1957-2001
Series 4: Audio and video recordings; 1973-1980, 2000

Digitized copies: A majority of the newspaper clippings from this collection have been digitized for preservation purposes and the originals destroyed. For information about accessing digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Digital materials: The digital contents of this collection are not available online. Access may only be provided on-site in the Archives research room. For more information about potential distance access to digital records, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Access restrictions: Archives and Special Collections does not own equipment necessary to provide access to some audio materials in the collection. There are extra costs associated with digitizing these materials. Please contact Archives and Special Collections for more information.

Rights note: Archives and Special Collections owns copyright to materials in the collection created by Robert Pond. Other materials may be subject to copyright not held by the Archives.

Preferred citation: Anchorage Community Theatre records, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory:

Anchorage Community Theatre. Lights Laughter Legacy: 60 Years of ACT. Anchorage, Alaska: Anchorage Community Theatre, 2014.

“Mission and History.” Anchorage Community Theatre. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.actalaska.org/about-1

Separated materials: Materials related to Anchorage Little Theatre were moved to a separate collection: Anchorage Little Theatre records, HMC-1369. Additional materials have been added to the Archives’ Ephemera collections.

Related materials: For other collections related to performing arts in Alaska, see our Performing arts collections topic guide.

Acquisition note: Teresa Pond, daughter of former Artistic Director, Robert Pond, donated the collection to the Archives and signed a deed of gift in 2020.

Processing information: This collection was described by Gwen Higgins in 2021.

Container list:

Series 1: Administrative and historical files; 1953-2016. 1.05 cubic feet.
This series contains founding documents of ACT, correspondence, and other materials related to the running of ACT, as well as material related to the history of theatre in Anchorage

Box/Folder Description Date
4/1 Articles of incorporation and by-laws undated, 1953
1/1 Theatre I 1974-1975
1/2 Board of Directors lists circa 2000
1/3 Manual for Executive Director, news release, proposal, production agreement with APU, Robert Pond resignation letter, operating contract 1967-1995
1/4 Lists of board members and productions 1951-1982, 2014-2016
1/5 Frank Brink correspondence 1958-1959
1/6 ACT correspondence and administrative files undated, 1976
1/7 Robert Pond correspondence undated, 1977
1/8 Christmas cards undated, 1981
1/9 Correspondence related to ACT land and building 1959-1979
1/10 Audition schedule, contact list, print sales undated, 1989
1/11 Hector Chevigny visit to Anchorage list of events 1959
1/12 The Dark at the Top of the Stairs fact sheet and publicity schedule circa 1960
4/2 Toyon of Alaska sheet music circa 1967
1/13 “Song of the Great Land” program copy, reception program undated, 1974
1/14 Alice in Wonderland list of scenes 1996
1/15-17 History of theatre in Anchorage undated
Electronic folder “History of the Anchorage Community Theatre” by Robert Pond


2002 September 7
1/18 Frank Brink obituary 2009
1/19 “Lights, Laughter, Legacy: 60 Years of ACT” 2014
Oversize folder ACT building plan undated
Digital storage Newspaper clippings digitized for preservation 1953-1997
Box 4 Clippings scrapbook 1957-1959

Series 2: Programs and posters; 1954-2007. 0.5 cubic feet.
This series consists of programs and posters from shows put on by ACT and its predecessor organization, Anchorage Community College Theatre Workshop. Some plays were produced in partnership Alaska Methodist University. The collection does not include programs for every show put on by ACT.

Box/Folder Description Date
1/20 Programs: The Long Christmas Dinner; Anchorage Community College Theatre Workshop rehearsal plays; Tales of Christmas; Detective Story; The Devil and Daniel Webster; One Day More; Death of a Salesman; Mister Roberts; Arsenic and Old Lace; The King and I 1954-1957
1/21 Programs: Ah, Wilderness; Auntie Mame; Brigadoon; The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; Teahouse of the August Moon; Inherit the Wind; Medea; Jan Peerce 1958-1959
1/22 Programs: My Three Angels; Stalag 17; Cry of the Wild Ram (1960); Bell, Book and Candle; The Rainmaker; On Borrowed Time; “A Session with Charles Laughton;” Cry of the Wild Ram (1961); John Brown’ Body; The Crucible; The Time of Your Life; A Family Portrait; Affairs of State; Cheechako’s Lament; In White America; Toyon of Alaska; Bus Stop; Night of the Iguana; Two for the See Saw; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf [sic]; Hamlet; Dark of the Moon; Oedipus Rex; The Odd Couple; 1960-1969
1/23 Programs: The Fantasticks; Fiddler on the Roof; Lovers; The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail; Marat-Sade; A Cry of Players; West Side Story; A Doll’s House; Man of La Mancha; Song of the Great Land; The Lion in Winter; The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild; Waiting for Godot; Cabaret; Macbeth; “Comedy by Three;” The Madwoman of Chaillot; “Variation in Dance;”Vinie Burrows; The Rook; Ladyhouse Blues; Camelot 1970-1980
1/24 Programs: 1981-82 season program; Not Enough Rope; 1982-83 season program;1983-84 season program; South Pacific; 1984-85 season program; 1985-86 season program; 1986-87 season program 1981-1987
1/25 Programs: You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown; Arsenic and Old Lace; Barefoot in the Park; The King and I; Fiddler on the Roof; Little Women; Anne of Green Gables; Guys & Dolls; It’s a Wonderful Life; Damn Yankees; Oklahoma 1988-2001
1/26 Programs: 2003 season program; The Foreigner; I Remember Mama; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Lion in Winter; “ACT’s House of Christmas;” Death of a Salesman; The Cemetery Club; Ladyhouse Blues 2003-2007
4/3 Posters: Marat-Sade; West Side Story (1973); Carousel; Vinie Burrows and Roots in Dance; The Crucible (1980); Brigadoon; Peter Pan; Alice in Wonderland (1982); Dark of the Moon; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; Oliver; The Sound of Music (1984); Song of the Greatland; South Pacific; You Can’t Take It with You; The Mousetrap; Fiddler on the Roof (1985); The Miracle Worker; The Butler Did It; Life with Father; Dial M for Murder; The Lion in Winter; The Music Man; Aladdin and the Lamp; The Fantasicks; A Thousand Clowns; The Odd Couple; Annie; Oliver! (1989); The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1988); You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown; Arsenic and Old Lace; The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1989); Ten Little Indians; Bell, Book and Candle; The King and I; Barefoot in the Park; Damn Yankees; Bugsy Malone; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; The Sound of Music (1995); Life with Father (1996); West side Story (1996); Alice in Wonderland (1996); Little Women; The Music Man (1997); Anne of Green Gables; Oklahoma!; Of Mice and Men; The Children’s Hour; Oliver (2003) 1972-2003

Series 3: Photographs; 1957-2001. 1.5 cubic feet.
This series consists of prints and negatives of shows, actors, and other events.

Box/Folder Description Date
1/27 No Time for Sergeants photographs 1957
1/28 Ah, Wilderness photographs 1958
1/29 The Dark at the Top of the Stairs photographs 1960
1/30 My Three Angels photographs 1960
1/31 Toyon centennial production photographs, toured through Alaska 1967
1/32 Hamlet photographs 1969
1/33 Fantasticks photographs 1970
1/34 Carousel photographs 1977
1/35 Roots (With Vinie Burrows) 1978
1/36 Camelot photographs 1980
1/37 Out of My Father’s House photographs 1981 April
1/38-39 Brigadoon photographs 1981 May
1/40 Peter Pan photographs 1981 October-November
1/41 Papa’s Wine photographs 1982
1/42-43 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof photographs 1982 March
1/44-45 The King and I photographs 1982
1/46 Alice and Wonderland photographs 1982
1/47 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead photographs 1983
1/48 Sound of Music photographs 1984
1/49 Life with Father and The Butler Did It 1986
1/50 Annie photographs 1988
1/51-54 You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown photographs 1988
1/55 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever photographs 1988 December 16-25
1/56-57 Arsenic and Old Lace photographs 1989 January 27-February 11
1/58 Barefoot in the Park photographs 1989 March
1/59 Oliver 1989 April 28-May 13
1/60-62 The King and I photographs 1989
2/1 The Teahouse of the August Moon photographs 1990
2/2 Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians photographs 1990
2/3 The Caine Mutiny photographs 1991
2/4-5 Heaven Can Wait photographs 1991 March 1-16
2/6 Bugsy Malone photographs 1991
2/7-8 The Crucible photographs 1992
2/9-10 I Remember Mama photographs 1992
2/11 A Christmas Carol photographs 1992
2/12-14 Inherit the Wind photographs 1993
2/15 Fiddler on the Roof photographs 1993
2/16-18 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs photographs 1994
2/19-20 Sound of Music photographs 1995
2/21 Life With Father photographs 1996 March
2/22 Cinderella photographs 1996 June
2/23-24 Alice in Wonderland photographs 1996
2/25-27 Little Women photographs 1997 March
2/28-31 The Music Man photographs 1997 May
2/32-33 The Wizard of Oz photographs 1997
2/34 Anne of Green Gables cast portraits 1998
2/35-36 Camelot photographs 1998
2/37 Oklahoma photographs 1999 May
2/38 Romeo and Juliet photographs 2000
2/39 Death of a Salesman photographs 2006
2/40 Show photographs: Fiddler on the Roof, The Crucible, Man of La Mancha undated, 1974-1985
2/41 Early Anchorage Community Theatre photographs 1956-1959
2/42 Early ACT photographs undated
2/43 Anchorage Community College Theatre Workshop photographs undated, 1958-1959
2/44 Anchorage Community Theatre photographs 1956-1966
2/45 Cut out photographs circa 1959-1967
2/46 Headshots undated, 1959
2/47 Karloff photographs 1973
2/48 Backstage polaroid photographs 1988
2/49 People getting ready for a show, barbecue 1989
2/50 Headshots and cast portraits 1993 December 3
2/51 Gala night 1997
2/52 Camp A.C.T. 1998 June
2/53 Camp A.C.T 2001 June
2/54 Photographs undated, 1982-2004
2/55 Jack Wandell photographs undated
2/56 Backstage photographs undated
2/57-59 Headshots undated
2/60-61 Headshots and cast portraits for unidentified shows undated
Rehearsal photographs for unidentified shows undated
4/4 Oversize photographs undated
Oversize folder Oversize photographs undated

Series 4: Audio and video recordings; 1973-1980, 2000. 0.45 cubic feet.
This series consists of reel-to-reel audio and audiocassettes, as well as Hi-8 video cassettes. The series is arranged by format.

Box/Item Description Date
3/1 F.O. Brink (ACT to 52). 7-inch reel undated
3/2 J.F.V. [John F. Villesvik] A.C.T. 7-inch reel undated
3/3 John F. Villesvik-A.C.T. Hist 7-inch reel undated
3/4 Frank Brink. 5-inch audio reel 1973 March
3/5 Jo Downs. 5-inch audio reel 1977
3/6 W. Downs 7/12 JVF [John F. Villesvik] 7/19 II. 5-inch reel undated
3/7 Sol Gerstenfeld THR. 5-inch reel undated
3/8 Lorene Harrison. 5-inch reel 1977 July 18
3/9 Polsky ACT. 5-inch reel undated
3/10 James H. Polsky. 5-inch reel 1973 February
3/11 Jackie Russell. 5-inch reel 1977 August 14
3/12 John Villesvik I. 5-inch reel 1973 February 19
3/13 Frank Brink Hist/Anch. Theatre. Audiocassette 1978 November 20
3/14 W. Downs. Audiocassette 1978-1980
3/15 Lynda Lorime. Audiocassette undated
3/16 Rip Collins. Hi-8 video cassette 2000 April 22


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