The East Carolina Playhouse
Source: East Carolina University Archives UA28.01
Staff Person: Brooke Tolar
Description: Today’s post features an original program for Anton Chekhov’s The Three Sisters as presented by the East Carolina Playhouse. This 1985 production cast list includes future Oscar-winning Actress and ECU alumni, Sandra Bullock. Visit Joyner Library’s Digital Collections page to view digitized images of items featured in this post.
Official Program for East Carolina Playhouse’s presentation of The Three Sisters featuring Sandra Bullock and Kevin Williamson.
The East Carolina Playhouse began as the Teachers Playhouse during the mid-1940s. This campus organization was initially designed to “give its members practical experience” and “promote an enthusiasm for the drama in all its phases (1949 Tecoan, p. 105 https://digital.lib.ecu.edu/15354).” Over the years, the Playhouse’s popularity increased, as did student participation. Campus yearbooks often boasted successful seasons, paying homage to the actors and actresses involved.
Sandra Bullock and The Playhouse
Sandra Bullock enrolled at East Carolina University in the early 1980s, by which time the Playhouse served as a well-established campus organization. She landed starring roles in several Playhouse productions during her college years. In The Three Sisters, Bullock played Irina, the youngest of three Russian sisters seeking deliverance from unexceptional, small-town lives. Additionally, she starred as Jean in Stage Door (1983) and as Tiger Lily in Peter Pan (1985). Interestingly, another noteworthy ECU alumni, future filmography icon Kevin Williamson, acted alongside Bullock in her 1985 Playhouse performances.
Image and cast list featured in the 1986 copy of The Buccaneer, p. 182.
Sandra Bullock (front and center) playing Jean in Stage Door. Image taken from the 1984 copy of The Buccaneer, p. 234.
“Joe Cool on Guadalcanal.”
Source: Leo Jenkins papers, UA90-06
Staff Person: Arthur Carlson
Description: This image features Leo Warren Jenkins serving on Guadalcanal. Born in Succasunna, New Jersey, Jenkins enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1942 upon completion of his doctoral degree at New York University. For his distinguished service, Jenkins was awarded a Bronze Star and two presidential unit citations. In 1947, Jenkins accepted the position of Dean of Men at then East Carolina Teachers College. He succeeded John D. Messick as President of East Carolina College in 1960 and in 1967 he was designated as the first Chancellor of East Carolina University. As president and chancellor, Jenkins oversaw major increases in student enrollment, the addition of a medical school, a major building campaign, and spearheaded the drive for university status. Upon his retirement in 1978 he continued to serve the citizens of North Carolina as a special assistant for Economic Development for Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. Jenkins passed away on January 14, 1989. Ever proud of being a Marine, he once remarked, “…it has been brought to my attention that there are more Marines enrolled in this institution than in any other college or university in the world. This pleases me very much for I shall always be proud of my association with these men. Since revolutionary war days, it has always been said that once a Marine always a Marine. This will be my lasting honor.”
Source: University Archives Image Collection (UA55-01-9775)
Staff Person: Arthur Carlson
Description: This image from the University Archives features the layout of J.Y. Joyner Library on Alumni Day in 1968. Joyner Library was dedicated on March 8, 1955 as part of that year’s Founder’s Day celebrations. The growing student body forced campus administrators to add air conditioning and two additional floors in 1964. From 1994-1999, a third major renovation added the rounded tower and Sonic Plaza which make Joyner among the most recognizable buildings on campus. Its namesake, James Yadkin Joyner, was a career educator and served as state Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1902-1919. He was instrumental in the modernization of the North Carolina public school system.
Source: PresidentWright’s Chapel Talk CH1050.2.1.1.6 University Archives
Staff Person: Ken Harbit
East Carolina Teachers College President Robert H. Wright’s “Chapel Talks” were given to students every morning from 9:30 to 10:25 six days a week. Chapel Talks typically consisted of a reading from the Bible followed by Wright’s thoughts regarding the Bible passage or some other moral instruction for the students, along with any news, schedule changes, or other announcements. The subject of this address is the budgetary process and Wright’s concern over the lack of funds for East Carolina Teachers College.
Source: University Archives Photograph Collection, 55-01-5833
Staff Person: Kacy Guill
In the Fall of 1957, the Student Government Association invited the Dave Brubeck Quartet to play at East Carolina College. By the time the performance occurred in February 1958, Dave Brubeck’s bass player had been replaced by Eugene Wright. Since he was African American, Eugene Wright was not permitted to play on stage at ECC, but required to perform from off stage.
In response, the Student Government Association petitioned ECC President John Messick for permission to invite any entertainment they chose without consideration of race. The Board of Trustees granted permission.
Source: East Carolina University Centennial Oral History Collection, 45-05-01-14:
Staff Person: Lynette Lundin
Juanita Williams grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina she was one of 13 children. She graduated East Carolina Teachers College in 1932. She talks about her experiences during the depression and going to ECTC. This is one of 33 Centennial Oral Histories. You can find this in our digital collections at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/1270
Source: University Archives Visual Materials Collection
Staff Person: Arthur Carlson
Description: This photo from the University Archives shows East Carolina students participating in a 1953 Sadie Hawkins Day Race (UA55-01-4841). By tradition, on Sadie Hawkins Day girls ask boys to accompany them to a dance or on a date. The event originated in 1937 with the comic strip Li’l Abner when the town spinster, Sadie Hawkins, is sent in pursuit of the town’s eligible bachelors as they raced to avoid marriage to the “homeliest gal in the hills.” The gender-based role reversal proved popular among female college students as Sadie Hawkins Day events rose in popularity across the nation. By 1952, Sadie Hawkins Day events were held in over 40,000 locations. In this image, Fleming and Wilson Dormitories are on the right and the Old Cafeteria Complex is just visible on the left. The large building in the center rear is the original Austin classroom building.
Source: Joyner Library Digital Collections Identifer: 55-01-1676
Staff Person: Ralph Scott