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Theatre Baton Rouge Records

Identifier: brfa064

Scope and Contents

The contents of this collection reflect primarily the activities of Theatre Baton Rouge by way of their productions and administrative activities. The arrangement of the collection follows original order when possible and is otherwise arranged chronologically in order to aid in discovery for researchers. The collection contains playbills of the productions produced by BRLT. It also has administrative records that include minutes, invoices, and by-laws. There are several files related to Director Lee Edwards' tenure with the theatre. The collection also contains various scrapbooks, news clippings, plaques, video tapes, and CDs. There is a large collection of photographs that include pictures from the productions and headshots of the actors. Some of the photographs still are unidentified or need sorting. The posters are mainly comprised of advertisements for BRLT's productions.


  • 1946-2017

Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

The Baton Rouge Little Theater was officially organized in 1946. This organization built on a long legacy of community theaters in Baton Rouge dating back as far as 1916 when plays were presented at the Elk’s Theater on Third Street. During the 1920’s an active Little Theater Guild was housed at the First National Bank on the southwest corner of Lafayette and Laurel Streets. Known as El Teatro Pequeno, it lasted until the 1930’s when theatrical activities moved to the Music and Dramatic Arts building on LSU’s new campus. From the 1930’s to the founding of the Little Theater, numerous community organizations presented amateur dramatic productions. Members of the organizations that would eventually become the BRLT were Dr. and Mrs. David Brown, Paul Entrikin, L.C. Ellis, Mrs. Katherine V. Fortenberry and Ralph Hileman. The Town and Gown Players, one such early group adopted the name “Little Theater” in April of 1940 and named Mr. Fred Bahlinger their new president. (ST. 4.3.40 pg. 8).

Under the name “The Baton Rouge Civic Theater” the group staged its first performance, “The Male Animal” on December 5, 1946. Over the next 6 years, the group staged 4 successful seasons in various theaters around Baton Rouge with its home stage at the military base, Harding Field. In 1952 it Lee Edwards was hired as the theater’s first full time director. Edwards had studied under Lee Strasbourg and Max Reinhard and had experience on Broadway as well as directing the Asheville North Carolina Community Theater. By the 1954-1955 season, BRLT had 2,500 members. In 1959 a building campaign was launched and in 1961 the troupe moved from its home at Harding Field to a newly constructed theater in the Bon Marche Shopping Center.

The first Summer Musical was South Pacific in 1962.


30 Linear Feet


There are five series in this collection: Playbills, Administration, Scrapbooks, Photographs, and Posters. The playbills are ordered chronologically with summer musicals being separate the normal seasons. Original order was maintained as much as possible for the other series. There is an Excel spread sheet that details the inventory for the posters.

Physical Location

BRS R8 8.1-10.7
Theatre Baton Rouge Records
Emily Ward
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections Repository

7711 Goodwood Blvd.
Baton Rouge La. 70806 USA