Preston Jones Playwright

A Guide to the Preston Jones Papers, 1940-1988 (Bulk : 1963-1979)

Creator: Jones, Preston
Title: Preston Jones Papers
Dates: 1940-1988 (Bulk : 1963-1979)
Abstract: The Preston Jones papers span the years 1940 to 1988. The archive contains typescripts, set designs, playbills, props, clippings, magazines, articles, letters, photographs, personal items (pipes, glasses, keys, a stuffed bear collection, etc.), mementos (World War I items, ticket stubs, “good show” gifts, etc.), awards, posters, school records, sculptures, scrapbooks, audiotapes, videotapes, T-shirts, and athletic equipment.
Identification: Collection 009
Extent: 33 boxes (22 linear feet), plus 5 oversize, one duplicate box
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Southwestern Writers Collection, Special Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos

Biographical Note

Playwright Preston Jones is best remembered for A Texas Trilogy, an evocative depiction of small town Texas life. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 7, 1936, Preston developed an interest in the dramatic arts while attending the University of New Mexico. Though he graduated with a BA in education in 1960 and took a teaching position, drama professor Eddie Snapp continued to encourage Preston to study theater and steered him toward Baylor University in Waco, Texas. At the time, the Baptist school’s Drama Department was headed by Snapp’s former Yale classmate, Paul Baker, a nationally known figure in regional and experimental theater. Preston applied successfully to Baylor and while waiting to enroll, worked for the highway department in Colorado City, Texas, the place which later formed the basis for Bradleyville, the setting for A Texas Trilogy.

Preston completed his coursework at Baylor but before he could receive his degree, Paul Baker and the Baylor University administration had a falling out over the production of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Baker moved his entire department to Trinity University in San Antonio in 1963 and Preston followed, receiving his Master’s there in 1966. His thesis was a dramatization of the novel by David Grubb, The Night of the Hunter.

In 1959, Paul Baker became director of the newly formed Dallas Theater Center (DTC) which he headed in conjunction with his position as a drama department chairman. Baker invited Preston to join the DTC during his first year as a student at Baylor thus beginning the association with an important regional theater that lasted until the end of his life. In line with Baker’s philosophy of non-specialization, Preston performed all duties in the theater: actor, director, stage manager, ticket taker, etc. As an actor, he appeared in Julius CaesarJourney to JeffersonMedeaA Streetcar Named DesireWhat Price Glory, and The Girl of the Golden West. He played the stage manager in Our Town and Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind. Preston’s directing projects included Under the Yum-Yum TreeBarefoot in the Park and The Knack. Preston was to credit this varied experience in the theater for his success in writing material for the stage.

It was through the Dallas Theater Center that Preston met his second wife, Mary Sue Birkhead Fridge. The two worked together in many Dallas Theater productions where Mary Sue was assistant director to Paul Baker as well as a popular actress and designer. Mary Sue, for her part, provided Preston with encouragement and support in his writing endeavors. Preston’s admiration for his wife’s talent was oft expressed. “I never belonged on the same stage as that woman,” he told John Anders of the Dallas Morning News (July 5, 1992).

In 1972, Baker appointed Preston managing director of Down Center Stage, a smaller workshop theater in the Center. Jones wished to provide a stage for new works but the lack of good material inspired him to begin writing what became the Trilogy. The first of the three plays, The Knights of the White Magnolia, premiered at the Down Center Stage on December 4, 1973. Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander followed on February 5, 1974 and The Oldest Living Graduate in November of that year. Baker chose Knights and LuAnn (Graduate had not yet been completed) along with other original plays by resident playwrights to be presented in a spring showcase, Playmarket 74. Producers, agents and critics from around the world were invited to view these works, among them literary agent Audrey Wood and director Alan Schneider. Wood, who had discovered, among others, Tennessee Williams and William Inge, became Preston’s agent and Schneider eventually directed the Trilogy in Washington, D. C. and New York City. In 1975, the three plays were performed together for the first time on the main stage of the Dallas Theater Center under the title, The Bradleyville Trilogy. That same year the American Playwright’s Theater, which promotes the production of new works in theaters around the country, chose Knights as one of their offerings. In 1976, the renamed A Texas Trilogy played at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to popular and critical acclaim. Preston received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to write a play for the American bicentennial and the Golden Apple Award from Cue magazine. After these initial successes, the Trilogy opened September 1976 on Broadway to a lukewarm response, closing after three weeks.

Preston returned to Dallas reassuming the varied tasks required of members of the company but by no means resting on his laurels as a playwright. His A Place on the Magdalena Flats played at the Dallas Theater Center in 1976 while the Trilogy wound its way from Washington to New York. Santa Fe Sunshine premiered at the Dallas Theater Center April 9, 1977. That same year, Preston won the Outer Critics Circle Award for the Trilogy and staged a tribute to Lady Bird Johnson on her 65th birthday. In 1978, Preston created the one-act Juneteenth for the Actors’ Theater in Louisville, Kentucky, forming the plot around Black Texans’ annual celebration of emancipation. This play was later presented with other one-acts on PBS’s “Earplay” series under the title Holidays. In 1979, Remember was on the boards. While working on rewrites, Preston was also crafting a screenplay of the Trilogy for producer Hal Wallis.

Preston was slated to appear as the Duke of Norfolk in the Dallas Theater Center’s production of A Man For All Seasons under Mary Sue’s direction when he was suddenly taken ill and hospitalized. He died September 9, 1979 after surgery on a bleeding ulcer.

See also: Busby, Mark. Preston Jones. Boise, Idaho: Boise State University Western Writers Series No. 58, 1983.

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Scope and Content Note

The Preston Jones papers span the years 1940 to 1988. The archive contains typescripts, set designs, playbills, props, clippings, magazines, articles, letters, photographs, personal items (pipes, glasses, keys, a stuffed bear collection, etc.), mementos (World War I items, ticket stubs, “good show” gifts, etc.), awards, posters, school records, sculptures, scrapbooks, audiotapes, videotapes, T-shirts, and athletic equipment. Most of the material was saved by Preston’s widow, Mary Sue Jones. Mary Sue kept files on Preston and his career in several different file groups. These file groups have been rearranged and consolidated into chronological order within subjects. The records are comprised of five series: Early Years and Dallas Theater Center, Plays, Professional Files, Publicity Files, and Illness and Death. The series chronicle Preston’s personal and professional life, from his childhood in New Mexico through his days as a successful playwright.

Series I: Early Years and Dallas Theater Center, 1940-1983. Boxes 1-4

This series outlines Preston Jones’ life before he became known as a playwright. It begins with photographs, articles and memorabilia of his father, James “Jawbone” Jones. It continues with boyhood photographs, yearbooks, memorabilia and drawings from his elementary school, high school, and college in New Mexico. Class notes, designs, school records, and diplomas represent his master’s work in playwrighting from Baylor University in Waco and Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Scrapbooks and photographs of Mary Sue and Preston’s honeymoon trip to Europe in 1964 and subsequent trips and vacations to Europe and Colorado are present. Jones was an enthusiastic player of darts and baseball, and equipment from both sports is included here. His intense interest in World War I, in which his father had served, is well documented by pamphlets, photographs, slides, medals, posters, and military memorabilia as well as sculptures Preston made out of coffee stirrers, many of which represent World War I scenes. Included too in this series are personal items: wallets, slides, programs, posters, pipes, and other paraphernalia. Finally there is material on Jones’ career at the Dallas Theater Center in the form of scrapbooks, audiotapes and photographs.

Series II: Plays, 1966-1988, n.d. Boxes 4-20

This series is organized into 3 subseries: Unproduced Writings; A Texas Trilogy; and Post-Trilogy plays. Many of the files reflect Mary Sue’s filing system but the material has been consolidated and reorganized by play in chronological order.

The group Unproduced Writings contains manuscripts of Preston Jones’ unproduced plays. Included is his thesis adaptation of The Night of the Hunter.

The three plays of the trilogy in the second subseries were performed together for the first time at the Dallas Theater Center in 1975 as the Bradleyville Trilogy. They played again as A Texas Trilogy in May 1976 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. and at the Broadhurst Theater in New York in September 1976. The first set of files refers to the three plays as a unit and contains playbills, posters, set designs, reviews, clippings and screenplay drafts. There is considerable documentation of the Washington and New York productions–promotional articles, photographs, reviews, playbills, congratulation notes, memorabilia (t-shirts, Algonquin hotel mementos) and interviews. Preston’s Teddy Bear collection is included here. His favorite was a small teddy bear named Fred, an ever-present good luck talisman that was buried with him.

Knights was the first completed play of the Trilogy, premiering at the Down Center Stage in the Dallas Theater Center on December 4, 1973. This subseries contains the handwritten versions of the play along with successive drafts and rewrites. Also included are props, costumes, playbills, programs, clippings, reviews, and interviews. The material is arranged by format (scripts, props, programs, clippings) in chronological order.

Preston Jones began LuAnn before the other two plays of the Trilogy, inventing as he did so the connecting thread, the town of Bradleyville. LuAnn was the second of the three plays to be completed, premiering in February of 1974. This subseries contains scripts and rewrites, programs, clippings, reviews, photographs and a video of the University of Minnesota 1980s production.

After Knights and Luann had been presented, Preston Jones wrote the final play of the TrilogyThe Oldest Living Graduate. It premiered at the Down Center Stage November 1974. In 1980, Graduate was presented live on television costarring Henry Fonda, Cloris Leachman, George Grizzard, and Harry Dean Stanton. This set of files contains the scripts and rewrites, clippings, reviews, and photographs. Included is a video of the 1980 telecast along with clippings and reviews. Preston Jones turned to his native New Mexico as the inspiration for the three plays written after the Trilogy. In 1975, Jones began writing A Place on the Magdalena Flats, also titled The Plains of St. Augustine, which examines the relationship of two brothers working their New Mexican ranch during the 1956 drought. Santa Fe Sunshine is a comic play about an artist’s colony. Remember concerns an actor reminiscing on his past during a visit to his boyhood home. Included here also are records on Juneteenth, a one-act play commissioned by the Actor’s Theatre in Louisville, and a tribute to Lady Bird Johnson on her 65th birthday, scripted and staged by Preston. This subseries contains handwritten and typed drafts and rewrites, programs, photographs, set designs, memorabilia, clippings of reviews and publicity, and audio and videotapes.

Series III: Professional Files, 1963-1986, Bulk 1972-1979. Boxes 21-25

This series contains journals, address books, correspondence, contracts, royalty payments, articles, clippings and photographs. The major part of the material relates to A Texas Trilogy and is made up of communications with agents, fans, and theaters concerning options on the plays. Included is correspondence with Hal Wallis in regard to the movie production of the Trilogy.

Series IV: Publicity, 1974-1986. Boxes 25-28

This series contains materials on the promotion of Preston Jones’ theatrical career especially in regard to the Trilogy. It includes photographs, clippings, reviews, articles, interviews and videotapes, providing information on aspects of the author’s life, career, and writing methods.

Series V: Jones Illness and Death, 1979-1983. Boxes 29-33

Jones died unexpectedly in September of 1979 after surgery for bleeding ulcers. This series contains documents concerning Jones’ medical care and cause of death, obituaries, the funeral service, the memorial fund established at the Dallas Theater Center, sympathy cards, Christmas cards, acknowledgments from Mary Sue Jones, correspondence and reports on the estate.

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Access Restrictions

Open for research.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preston Jones Papers, Southwestern Writers Collection/Texas State University-San Marcos.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mary Sue Jones.

Processing Information

Processed by Gwynedd Cannan, Nov. 1993; Inventory Rev. by Brandy Harris, 2005.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The inventory for this collection is currently unavailable. Please contact the Southwestern Writers Collection, Special Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos for more information regarding this collection.

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RANDY FORD first met Preston at Baylor University when he came from New Mexico.  They moved together to Trinity University after the abrupt closing of LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT.  They later worked together at the Dallas Theater Center  They were friends.


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A look at 58 years of Dallas Theater Center, from its founding to its Tony Award

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Nancy Churnin, Theater Critic

      Dallas audiences can count on at least one big win at the Tony Awards: Dallas Theater Center’s pre-announced 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award.  Made on the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association, this honor, which decrees Dallas Theater Center as the nation’s best regional theater, has been a long time coming for the company founded in 1959 as one of the country’s first regional theaters. The award will be presented June 11 as part of the 71st annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Here’s a look at Dallas Theater Center highlights.


Paul Baker, founder of the Dallas Theater Center, circa 1994 (Baker Idea Institute)
Paul Baker, founder of the Dallas Theater Center, circa 1994
(Baker Idea Institute)

1959 Dallas Theater Center becomes one of the country’s first regional theaters when Paul Baker founds a resident company of artists and serves as artistic director. Its first home is the Kalita Humphreys Theater, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Among the new work premiered: Preston Jones’ A Texas Trilogy, which was produced on Broadway in 1976.

1982 Mary Sue Jones serves as interim artistic director.

1983 The next artistic director, Adrian Hall, transforms the company into a fully professional theater with a resident company of actors. During his tenure, Tony Award-winning set designer Eugene Lee designs the Arts District Theater (which was closed in 2005 to prepare for the building of the Wyly Theatre). The company turns Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, first produced in 1969, into an annual tradition starting in 1984 and launches Project Discovery in 1986. This educational outreach program has enabled more than 265,000 students from North Texas middle and high schools to attend and receive supplementary educational instruction about main stage programs.

Dallas Theater Center's production of <i>A Christmas Carol</i> in 1985.(1985 File Photo/DMN)
Dallas Theater Center’s production of A Christmas Carol in 1985.
(1985 File Photo/DMN)

1990 Ken Bryant, who’d worked at Dallas Theater Center since 1984, serves briefly as artistic director, but dies suddenly after a traffic accident. Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys campus is named for him.

1992 Artistic director Richard Hamburger promotes new work in The Big D Festival of the Unexpected and Fresh Ink/Forward Motion and oversees the growth of Project Discovery. Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum frequently recognizes him for outstanding direction for shows, including 1999’s South Pacific. He is named Dallas Theater Center’s first artistic director emeritus in 2007.

Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty stands in front of the new Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre Center.&nbsp;(2009 File Photo/David Woo)
Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty stands in front of the new Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre Center.
(2009 File Photo/David Woo)
Ashley D. Kelley played Bella last year during a performance of "Bella: An American Tall Tale" in the Dallas Theater Center.&nbsp;(2016 File Photo/Andy Jacobsohn)
Ashley D. Kelley played Bella last year during a performance of “Bella: An American Tall Tale” in the Dallas Theater Center.
(2016 File Photo/Andy Jacobsohn)

2007 Artistic director Kevin Moriarty oversees the company’s move to the Wyly Theatre in the AT&T Performing Arts Center in 2009; reinstates the resident acting company as the Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company, launches Public Works Dallas, an annual event featuring free performances of a show featuring 200 community members alongside a small core of professional actors and builds connections with multiple regional and New York theaters.

2010-2016 Dallas Theater Center’s Give it Up! transfers to Broadway as Lysistrata Jones in 2011; The Good NegroGiant and Fortress of Solitudetransfer to the Public Theater off-Broadway in 2009, 2012 and 2014 respectively; Bella: An American Tall Tale transfers to Playwrights Horizons off-Broadway where it continues through July 2.

2017 Dallas Theater Center wins the Tony Award for best regional theater.


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By Randy Ford

What is obscene? As a Christian, a writer, a human being , a man, me, WHAT IS OBSCENE is something I have wrestled with for a very long time. As a boy it was something, I struggled with when I first saw magazines of nearly naked women on a drug store news rack, took one, slipped it under my coat, and walked out of the store without paying for the magazine. I then found a place, any place, where I could look at all of the nearly naked women without getting caught. I then threw the dirty magazine away. This became a habit until I was finally caught by a drug store owner.

Then came along porn. And then looking at porn became my secret. I secretly went to porn sites on my computer for a very long time. I don’t know why I stopped. Perhaps it bored me. Still it could become a desire.

Then I became a writer and my wrestling over what is obscene continued. Today I don’t look at porn. I have no desire to.

Take my name: Randy Ford. In most places it is totally acceptable. However randy is an English word, perfectly acceptable English word meaning horny and to some people it is funny, and perhaps to some people it would be considered obscene.

Bluntness Throughout the Ages

A series of books my wife gave me was Thomas Cahill’s THE HINGES OF HISTORY: HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION, THE GIFTS OF THE JEWS, and SAILING THE WINE-DARK SEA. Why do the GREEKS MATTER? Why do we study them?

The books were an eye-opener for me, having what I thought was a pretty good grasp of Greek Civilization (specifically Greek Drama) and the Old Testament (I even wrote an poem-opera called Testament in which I mixed modern-day references with the old. To some degree Cahill does the same thing.) Gee, people back then celebrated their sexuality; and it was done in the open, as part of their drama and religion. Male performers were naked and some accentuated their erections; before they paraded into amphitheaters they displayed their penises on the streets in a way that some of us would classify as pornographic. (I take responsibility for this interpretation of Cahill because I am now going on memory.) References like this, about genitals and about displaying them and using them, can be found throughout the books. (The bluntness of this caught my attention in much the same way as when a fellow writer recently reduced living to “eating, sleeping, and fucking.” Throughout the ages, the vulva wasn’t left out.) This openness was one of the things that surprised me in all three books. I’m afraid this says more about me than Mr. Cahill or the Greeks or the Sumerians or even the Hebrews.   Just as obscene is.

The question for me is when did the sanitizing begin. Is it just me? I seem to be drawn to those places in the books in much the same way as I once looked for and underlined the “good” passages in PEYTON PLACE or first looked for the words “fuck you” near the end of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE.   Everything in THE HINGES OF HISTORY series doesn’t revolve around sexuality. And though classical bluntness may to the modern ear seem crude, there was much more in the series that I had missed in my education.

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About DTC                                                                                    y

One of the leading regional theaters in the country, Dallas Theater Center (DTC) performs to an audience of more than 90,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in the Dallas Arts District. DTC also presents at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. DTC engages, entertains and inspires a diverse community by creating experiences that stimulate new ways of thinking and living by consistently producing plays, educational programs and community initiatives that are of the highest quality and reach the broadest possible constituency.

Our Mission

Dallas Theater Center will engage, entertain, and inspire our diverse community by creating experiences that stimulate new ways of thinking and living. We will do this by consistently producing plays, educational programs, and other initiatives that are of the highest quality and reach the broadest possible constituency.
Our Vision
Dallas Theater Center will be recognized, both locally and nationally, as a top-tier arts organization, as a cultural destination for Dallas and the surrounding region, and as a collaborative artistic force that values diversity and practices inclusion.
Our Values
The following values, which support our mission and vision, will guide our programmatic, financial, and other choices and will be at the center of all our decisions:
Artistic Excellence
We believe in creating theater, learning experiences, and associated programs that are consistently of the highest quality and that reflect the breadth and depth of theatrical art. In so doing, we will engage, entertain, educate, and inspire our patrons.
Operational Excellence
We are committed to the highest standards in our governance, management, and operational practices. We believe in developing an engaged, informed Board of Trustees, an experienced and accomplished staff, and a working environment that attracts trustees, staff, volunteers, and local and national artists of the highest caliber.
Financial Health
We believe in financial stability and will operate Dallas Theater Center in a financially responsible manner, with our goal being that the projected expenses for each year will be balanced with the projected revenue for that year. We will secure and maintain the human, financial, and other resources necessary to support long-term stability and excellence. We will engender community confidence, trust, and support and will be worthy of corporate, foundation, government, and individual investment that increases over time.
Collaboration and Inclusion
We believe that collaboration with the community we serve is central to our purpose and that our best results can be achieved when we partner with others in our community, including arts organizations, educational institutions, governmental agencies, and other groups.
We will operate Dallas Theater Center as a public forum, supporting interaction that engages our community, introduces new ways of thinking, and inspires new perspectives in those we serve. We will be inclusive of diverse peoples, ideas, cultures, and traditions and, by so doing, will enrich our work and our relationships with others.
Our commitment to collaboration and inclusion will also be evidenced by our respect for our trustees, staff, volunteers, and artists, all of whose input and experience will positively shape our working environment and our operating perspective.
Effective Utilization of Resources
We accept our responsibility to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us and to make wise and efficient use of those resources. We will hold those resources in the public trust and will be prudent in using them for their intended purpose. We will operate Dallas Theater Center as a valued community asset and for purposes that are consistent with our mission and in keeping with sound business practices.
 Randy Ford receive his master degree from the Dallas Theater Center, which was then part of Trinity University San Antonio.

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Paul Baker and the Integration of Abilities Hardcover –  

About the Author

More about the author

Robert Flynn

Robert Flynn, professor emeritus, Trinity University and a native of Chillicothe, Texas, is the author of fourteen books. Nine novels: North To Yesterday; In the House of the Lord; The Sounds of Rescue, The Signs of Hope; Wanderer Springs, The Last Klick, The Devils Tiger, co-authored with the late Dan Klepper, Tie-Fast Country, Echos of Glory.and his most recent Jade:Outlaw. His dramatic adaptation of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying was the United States entry at the Theater of Nations in Paris in l964 and won a Special Jury Award. He is also the author of a two-part documentary, “A Cowboy Legacy” shown on ABC-TV; a nonfiction narrative, A Personal War in Vietnam, an oral history, When I was Just Your Age, and a memoir, Burying the Farm.

Also, three story collections, Seasonal Rain, Living With The Hyenas, Slouching Toward Zion, and a collection of essays, Growing Up a Sullen Baptist. He is co-editor of Paul Baker and the Integration of Abilities.

North to Yesterday received awards from the Texas Institute of Letters and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the New York Times. Seasonal Rain, was co-winner of the Texas Literary Festival Award. Wanderer Springs received a Spur Award from Western Writers of America. Living With the Hyenas received a Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Echoes of Glory received a Spur Award from Western Writers of America. Flynn’s work has been translated into German, Spanish, Dutch, Afrikaans, Malayalam, Arabic, Tamil, Hindi, Kanada, and Vietnamese. Flynn is a member of The Texas Institute of Letters, The Writers Guild of America, Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Associate, and P.E.N. In 1998, he received the “Distinguished Achievement Award” from the Texas Institute of Letters. (See Flynn’s Blog.)

Robert Flynn is a native of Chillicothe, Texas, the best known Chillicothe outside of Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, despite its size. Chillicothe is so small there’s only one Baptist Church. Chillicothe is so small you have to go to Quanah to have a coincidence. Chillicothe is fairly bursting with truth and beauty and at an early age Flynn set out to find it.

His life and work could be described as ‘The Search for Morals, Ethics, Religion, or at least a good story in Texas and lesser known parts of the world’.

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Cecile Guidote Alvarez (Theater Philippines) – WikiPeaceWomen

Cecile Guidote Alvarez (Philippines)

“I envision a world free from poverty, pollution, ignorance, injustice. This must be done through culture so that it is peaceful. We have to develop minds and hearts that care and share.”

Cecile Guidote Alvarez (born 1943) founded the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta), a pioneering theater group that honed creative artists and audiences through children’s, college, and community theater. For 38 years, Peta has depicted social issues through original Filipino plays, using the language of the masses and alternative theater spaces. Today, as Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Cecile has been described as a “cultural caregiver”.

Cecile Guidote Alvarez has served the Filipino public for years through the arts as a theater artist, producer, director and founder of cultural movements. As a 16-year-old talent of the Paulinian Players Guild, she was tapped to join the Ateneo Summer Graduate School Theater, where she was exposed to a theater workshop with disabled children at the National Orthopedic Hospital. Seeing the children emerge from hopelessness to confidence, Cecile discovered the power of the arts to transform the marginalized youth into creative individuals. At 18, Cecile directed the award-winning TV series, “Teenagers”, which tackled problems of the youth. From this early exposure to theater arts, Cecile envisioned a theater not just for entertainment, but also as a significant social venue that could articulate the aspirations of the Filipino people. From 1964 to 1967, she pursued graduate studies at the State University of New York and the Trinity University in Texas. She returned to the country in 1967 with her graduate thesis entitled “Prospectus for a National Theater” which envisioned a Philippine national theater movement. This became the basis for the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) that Cecile founded and directed in 1967. For 38 years, Peta has honed creative artists who made successful careers in the Philippine theater and movie industry. The pioneering theater movement has regional chapters involving children’s theater, college theater, community theater and traditional arts. Currently, as Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and Arts, Cecile continues her lifetime commitment of “cultural care giving” by providing free arts training to street children, the disabled and indigenous youth. Cecile attests that “the arts are a peaceful and powerful means of transmitting values.”

Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) Movement for a Free Philippines International Alliance of Concerned Artists for Human Rights and Peace (ACAHRP)


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