Biography and History

Theatre Intime was founded in 1919 by a small group of Princeton undergraduates interested in writing and producing original plays. Quickly growing in popularity, in the fall of 1921 it obtained the use of Murray Theater, which had theretofore served as a chapel, on the Princeton campus. Murray has been Intime's home ever since.

Throughout its history, Theatre Intime has remained a student-run organization. With a few notable exceptions, Intime has maintained itself without financial support from the university. Intime produces all manner of performances--dramas, tragedies, comedies, and musicals, as well as monologues, magic shows, and folk sings. Historically, its members have shown an interest in lesser-known or less-often performed works, as well as in student-written plays. Over the years, several plays have enjoyed their American or world premiers with Intime: in the spring of 1921, John Milton's Samson Agonistes was the first such debut. It was followed by such plays as Tolstoy's Tsar Fyodor Ivanovitch (1929), Jules Romains' Give the Earth a Little Longer (Spring 1942), Jean Cocteau's The Typewriter (Fall 1949), John O'Hara's Searching Sun (Spring 1952), and W.H. Auden's Age of Anxiety (Spring 1960).

For its first fifty years, the group experienced alternating periods of creativity and growth and times when membership and interest in the group sagged. The period before World War II saw the company's focus shift from encouraging student playwriting to acting and directing professional plays. This new focus was most visible in the years 1929-1933, when James Stewart, Joshua Logan, Myron McCormick, Norris Houghton, Bretaigne Windust, and others were student members. Originally set up as almost a private club for its members, whose audiences were admitted by invitation only, Intime quickly grew to become a more open stage company. Intime's relationship with the Triangle Club was especially reciprocal in this era.

During World War II, Intime's activities were suspended. After the war, club veterans returned to reorganize the group. During the years 1947-1954, the group began experimenting with new playwrights and artists: works by Sartre, Cocteau, and Giradoux appeared during these years, soon to be followed by Albee, Ionesco, Pirandello, Beckett, Camus, and Brecht. The years from 1955 to 1966 proved difficult for Intime, as student apathy discouraged and often foiled the troupe's efforts.

The greatest turning point in Intime's history occurred during the 1970s. Student enthusiasm about theatre in general increased markedly in these years, reflecting cultural changes of the times, and the beginning of coeducation provided a great deal of new talent. Membership rules were loosened, and an atmosphere of creativity and openness inspired not only experimental and avant-garde performances, but also an expanded season of up to ten plays, compared to the four-or-five-play seasons of the 1950's. Since this time, Intime has enjoyed consistent popularity and organizational good health.

Throughout Intime's history, its members often sought to run summer seasons. The early 1930's, late 1940's, 1950's, and the period since 1968 all saw successful summer efforts. Theatre Intime's members were often involved in summer theatre projects. This collection contains materials for summer seasons from 1928-1931 and 1968 onward. However, Intime members also succeeded in staging shows during the summers 1928 to 1931 (with students from Harvard and other universities in Falmouth, Massachusetts), 1948 to 1950, and 1953 to 1960, under the name University Players, in the summer of 1962 as the Princeton Players, and in the 1970s as Summer Intime.

For a more detailed account of Theatre Intime's development over the years, please see John P. Kendall '74's English Department senior thesis, I Also Swept the Floor: Theatre Intime from 1920 to 1974.

Source: From the finding aid for AC022

  • Theatre Intime Records. 1919-2011 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC022

    The collection contains records of the Princeton University student-run theatre organization and includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, playbills, posters, scripts, designs, and promotional materials.

  • Princeton Summer Theater Records. 1968-2008 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC295

    Princeton Summer Theater was founded in 1968 by three members of Theatre Intime who sought to continue acting during the summer offseason. The collection consists of organizational records and promotional materials which document the activities of Princeton Summer Theater dating back to its inception as Summer Intime.

  • Hedges family papers. 1979-1938 (inclusive), 1925-1931 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC370

    The Hedges family produced three Princetonians in two generations: Benjamin van Doren Hedges (1866-1930, Princeton class of 1888) and his sons Benjamin van Doren Hedges (1907-1969, Princeton class of 1930) and Robert W. Hedges (1908-1950, Princeton class of 1931). This collection contains scrapbooks, to all three Hedges family Princetonians, as well as several other family members, including materials produced at Princeton and elsewhere.

  • University Players Collection. 1948-1961 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC381

    The collection consists mainly of playbills, photographs, and clippings of press announcements and reviews of the University Players, a youthful group of Princetonians aspiring toward careers in the performing arts. Not entirely comprised of Princeton alumni and undergraduates, however, the organization provided experience and training for many hopefuls who have in fact succeeded in that goal. Taking its name from an earlier group with the same ambitions and who also made great contributions to American theatre and film, it provided the Princeton community with some exciting and meritorious summer theatre for more than a decade.

  • Charles E. Fehon Papers. circa 1947-1950 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC384

    Consists primarily of original artwork created by Charles E. Fehon, Princeton Class of 1950, during the process of designing sets and costumes for Princeton theater groups including Theatre Intime, University Players, and the Triangle Club.

  • Charles H. Schultz Collection. 1952-1958 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC387

    Charles H. Schultz is a member of the Princeton Class of 1954. The collection consists of scripts, sides, photographs, reviews, programs, clippings, and miscellaneous material relating to the University Players, Theatre Intime, and the Triangle Club of Princeton during the years Schultz was a participant in these groups.