Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Jones, Chris, 1963-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Theatre Arts


Milwaukee Repertory Theater--History; Repertory theater--Wisconsin--Milwaukee--History; Repertory theater--United States--History


This thesis assesses the development of the regional theatre movement as a decentralization effort. Close scrutiny is given to the theatre’s evolution from the first companies of the New World through the advent of the Regional Theatre Movement in 1947 with Margo Jones’s Dallas Theatre. This study then analyzes the historical underpinnings of the birth of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. MRT’s history is detailed from its inception in 1953 as Drama Inc., through its founder Mary Richard Widrig Jphn, to its first real artistic and financial stability in 1969 under the artistic leadership of Tunc Yaleman. Finally, the current state of the regional theatre is analyzed in detail. Both artistic and administrative aspects are covered in scrutinizing the current and future existence of the regional theatre within the nonprofit world of the arts. Three interviews with former and current MRT staff are offered in an appendix to this document. The objectives of this document are: 1) to pinpoint the cause and effect of the decentralization effort; 2) to describe, in detail, the formation and evolution of a leading resident theatre company in the wake of the regional theatre movement; and 3) to outline the movement’s evolution in relation to the current state of the regional theatre.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [144]-148)


vi, 236 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type