PlayMakers Repertory Company

A History

Edited by Bobbi Owen, Adam Versényi

PlayMakers Repertory Company

168 pp., 7 x 10, 79 images, appends., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6546-7
    Published: May 2021

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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Dramatic Art

PlayMakers Repertory Company: A History celebrates nearly fifty years of the professional theatre company founded at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975. Building upon a legacy of theatrical activity at UNC dating back to 1918, when the appointment of Professor Koch in the Department of English led to the formation of the Carolina Playmakers, Tom Haas and Arthur Housman envisioned a professional company integrated with an academic department at a major research university. That combination of professional artistic achievement coupled with the highest quality theatrical training has characterized PlayMakers Repertory Company from the outset.

Then as now, the core of the resident company--faculty who are both teachers and practitioners working in tandem with the graduate students in the Department of Dramatic Arts' three MFA programs--is constantly supplemented by the best directors, designers, and performers working today. Undergraduates learn from faculty who move back and forth between the classroom and the stage, shops, and workrooms, with the knowledge gained in one realm sparking creativity in another. Graduate students in acting, costume production, and technical production receive professional training during the day from teachers who become their artistic collaborators at night, both off- and on-stage.

With six essays, more than eighty images, and four appendices that list productions, faculty, MFA recipients, and administrative leadership, this book richly documents a beloved and widely admired dramatic arts institution.

About the Authors

Bobbi Owen is the Michael R. McVaugh Distinguished Professor of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been the resident costume designer for PlayMakers Repertory Company since its inception and has also designed for many regional theatres, including Charleston Stage and the Indiana Repertory Theatre. She has written several books and hundreds of articles about theatrical designers while teaching costume history and costume design.
For more information about Bobbi Owen, visit the Author Page.

Adam Versényi, a dramaturg, theatre scholar, and translator, is the founder and editor of the online journal, The Mercurian. He joined the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty in 1988, has been chair of the Department of Dramatic Art since 2014, and is senior dramaturg for PlayMakers Repertory Company. He teaches theatre history and literature including Latin American and Latino/a/x Theatre and Performance.
For more information about Adam Versényi, visit the Author Page.


“PlayMakers has been punching far above its weight class since the moment of its founding. This beautiful, detailed, and comprehensive examination of its remarkable past and current strength, charts the organization’s importance as one of the leading lights in the American Theatre.”--Joseph Haj, MFA 1988; Artistic Director of The Guthrie Theater 2015-present; and Artistic Director of PlayMakers Repertory Company 2006-2015

“I came to the Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) and PlayMakers Repertory Company (PRC) as a working actor, hoping that the program would get me the ‘greats’: great training, great contacts, and a great agent. Because of the program, I’m three-for-three in ‘greats,’ but just as importantly, I gained a community through the PATP and PRC--an arts family--that provides referrals, timely information, and ongoing support. PlayMakers Repertory Company: A History tells the story of the growth and development of this unique endeavor.”--Joy Jones, MFA 2010; has appeared in regional and world premieres at Arena Stage, the Huntington Theatre Company, the Denver Center/Royal Shakespeare Company, and TheatreSquared; and on-camera on CBS, PBS, and Hulu, and in independent films

“One of the greatest pleasures of being a Company Member at PlayMakers Repertory Company is the privilege of teaching students in the morning, and then in the afternoons and evenings rehearsing and performing on the PlayMakers stage, with artists from all over the world. Written in an accessible style and chronicling the arc of PRC’s history around the tenure of each of the Company’s artistic directors, the book shows how a professional theatre company embedded in the heart of a major research university enriches not only the lives of aspiring theatre professionals, but also the entire educational enterprise of a college community. I am fortunate to have had an artistic home for over twenty years with this extraordinary company of artists and educators.”--Kathryn Hunter-Williams, MFA 2008; Company Member with PlayMakers Repertory Company; faculty in the Department of Dramatic Art; and Associate Director for Hidden Voices