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Collection Title: Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera Collection

Collection Number: M415

Dates: 1976-2005

Volume: 3.3 cu ft.

Provenance: Materials in this collection were generated by the Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera and were donated to USM Archives by Tim Breland, Jacque Purdy James, Fritzie Schurb, Garland Sullivan, and Martha Tatum between 1997 and 2004.

Restrictions: Available for research use by the serious student and scholar.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Since its founding, the goal of the Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera (HCLO) has been to bring quality entertainment to Hattiesburg residents and provide an outlet for community members to share their various artistic talents with their neighbors. The HCLO was founded by Bob Mesrobian in 1976, with the integral support of the Hattiesburg Mayor and Commissioners and Forrest County Supervisors. Mesrobian served as the first artistic director. The first Board of Directors was led by Jess Hughes (president), Dr. William Poirier (vice president), Martha Tatum (treasurer), and Glenda Brundage (secretary). The first HCLO production was The Barber of Seville, which was staged at the Thames School Auditorium in the spring of 1976.

Also in 1976, the HCLO joined other civic organizations in renovating the Saenger Theatre in downtown Hattiesburg. With money from the city and various fund raising efforts, the HCLO renovated the performance facilities at the Saenger, while other organizations concentrated on restoring the lobby, based on the original architectural plans of the building. The first performance in the newly renovated Saenger was Amahl and the Night Visitors (December 1976).
The HCLO was chartered as a non-profit organization in 1977, and in the years since its inception, it has produced 71 shows (as of 2005). These productions spice up the night- life of downtown Hattiesburg, and participation in the HCLO performances has allowed hundreds of locals to learn about play production and share their talents and enthusiasm for artistic endeavors with other members of the community.


Contents of the Collection
Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera Online. (retrieved 28 March

Other Finding Aids:

Box and Folder List

Related Collections:

Hattiesburg Little Theatre Collection, 1975-1977 (M331).


Scope and Content:

This collection is comprised of playbills, photographs, scrapbooks, posters, correspondence, bylaws, budgets, and memorabilia of the Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera. It also includes newspaper clippings and production notes for some HCLO shows. The collection is arranged in four series:

• Playbills
• Production and Publicity
• HCLO Business
• History and Memories

Series I: Folders in the “Playbills” series contain one or two playbills for each play. Inserts are found inside some of the playbills. They are arranged chronologically by play.

Series II: Folders in the “Production and Publicity” series contain information and documentation regarding the production aspects of the shows. Folder 17, "Production Notes," includes cast lists, ad proofs, scenery designs, properties lists, and advertisements for some shows. It also includes costume rental materials, photo order forms, T-shirt order forms, cast party flyers, and a draft of the musical melange, Broadway on Front Street. Other folders contain mail-outs to HCLO members that advertise upcoming shows and allow them to order tickets early; party invitations and notices of other activities associated with different plays; and news articles and other publicity materials regarding various HCLO productions.

Series III: This series is comprised of materials that relate to the business activities of the HCLO. It contains folders that relate to the Board of Directors, the structure of the HCLO, and fiscal matters regarding the organization. Included are copies of the HCLO bylaws; materials that state the role and activities connected with each job within the organization; a flow chart that illustrates the chain of command for HCLO; minutes; notes from board meetings; correspondence; and financial documents.

Series IV: The series, “History and Memories,” is composed of articles, newspaper clippings, correspondence, scrapbooks, and items of memorabilia that document the history of the HCLO. Included are a write up of the HCLO’s history; a list of all the plays that HCLO has presented over the years and separate cast lists for each show; materials documenting the past presidents of the HCLO; and a paper on the renovation of the Saenger Theatre titled “Transformation of the Saenger Theatre from a Movie House to a Theatre of Cultural Arts”, by Wendy Obstler. Also worthy of note is a folder titled “Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts”, which contains information regarding the selection of Mrs. Martha Tatum as a recipient of that award in 2001. Scrapbooks in Series IV contain photographs and newspaper clippings from some of the shows that HCLO has produced. Among them are Annie Get Your Gun, She Loves Me!, Oklahoma!, The Wizard of Oz, The Barber of Seville, South Pacific, The King and I, Brigadoon, and Fiddler on the Roof. HCLO memorabilia in this series includes a red West Side Story T-shirt, HCLO posters advertising various productions, a metal key ring from Carousel, and the paw print of the dog that played "Sandy" in the 1983 production of Annie.

This collection should be of interest to researchers of local theatrical organizations, or those interested in forming such groups.


Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera Collection
Box and Folder List


Series I: Playbills

Box 1
Folder 1 The Sound of Music (May 1977)
Folder 2 South Pacific (May 1978)
Folder 3 The King and I (May 1979)
Folder 4 Brigadoon (December 1979)
Folder 5 Fiddler On the Roof (May 1980)
Folder 6 Oklahoma! (November 1980)
Folder 7 The Music Man (May 1982)
Folder 8 She Loves Me! (November 1982)
Folder 9 Annie Get Your Gun (May 1983)
Folder 10 Annie (December 1983)
Folder 11 Gypsy (May 1984)
Folder 12 Grease (December 1984)
Folder 13 Guys and Dolls (May 1985)
Folder 14 Oliver! (December 1985)
Folder 15 The Sound of Music (May 1986)
Folder 16 Peter Pan (December 1986)
Folder 17 Mame (May 1987)
Folder 18 My Fair Lady (December 1987)
Folder 19 West Side Story (April 1988)
Folder 20 The Fantasticks (September 1988)
Folder 21 Here’s Love (December 1988)
Folder 22 Hello Dolly! (May 1989)
Folder 23 Broadway Limited (1989)
Folder 24 The Wizard of Oz (December 1989)
Folder 25 Anything Goes (May 1990)
Folder 26 Nunsense (October 1990)
Folder 27 Annie (September 1990)
Folder 28 Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1992)
Folder 29 Arsenic and Old Lace (September 1992)
Folder 30 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (May 1993)
Folder 31 Broadway on Front Street (September 1993)
Folder 32 Carousel (December 1993)
Folder 33 The 1940s Radio Hour (November 1994)


Box 2
Folder 1 Bye Bye Birdie (December 1995)
Folder 2 The World Goes Round (September 1995)
Folder 3 The Secret Garden (May 1995)
Folder 4 Crazy For You (November 1996)
Folder 5 Nunsense II: The Second Coming…(September 1996)
Folder 6 Man of La Mancha (May 1996)
Folder 7 Damn Yankees (April 1997)
Folder 8 Forever Plaid (August 1997)
Folder 9 The King and I (November 1997)
Folder 10 West Side Story (November 1998)
Folder 11 The All Night Strut! (August 1998)
Folder 12 Tomfoolery (April 1998)
Folder 13 HCLO: A Family Album (August 1999)
Folder 14 Cabaret (November 1999)
Folder 15 The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (August 2003)
Folder 16 The Music Man (November 2003)

Series II: Production and Publicity

Folder 17 Production Notes (ca. 1978-1996)
Folder 18 HCLO Membership Mailouts (ca. 1978-2004)
Folder 19 HCLO Publicity (Spring 1987)
Folder 20 HCLO Publicity (Spring 1995)
Folder 21 HCLO Publicity (Fall 1995)
Folder 22 HCLO Publicity (Fall 1996)

Box 3
Folder 1 HCLO Publicity (1999-2000)
Folder 2 HCLO Production and Publicity (2000-2001)

Series III: HCLO Business

Box 4
Folder 1 HCLO Bylaws and Structure (1980, 1995, 1998, undated)
Folder 2 HCLO Board Business (1977-1981)
Folder 3 HCLO Board Business (1982-2000)
Folder 4 HCLO Financial Business (ca. 1978-1995)
Folder 5 HCLO Playbill Advertisements (1989-1990; 1995-1996; undated)


Series IV: HCLO History and Memories

Folder 6 Historical Articles about HCLO (1983; 1989-1990)
Folder 7 Listing of HCLO Shows and Casts (1998)
Folder 8 Lists of HCLO Presidents (1989-1990; 2005)

Folder 9 Paper: "Transformation of the Saenger Theatre from a Movie
House to a Theatre of Cultural Arts" By Wendy Obstler
Folder 10 Correspondence (1979-1997; undated)
Folder 11 HCLO Loose Newspaper Clippings (1979-1988)
Folder 12 HCLO Loose Newspaper Clippings (1989-2003)
Folder 13 HCLO Memorabilia (1978-1993; undated)
Folder 14 Arts in the Region (1978-1993; undated)
Folder 15 “Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts” (2000-2001)
Folder 16 Martha R. Tatum’s Death (Apr. 14 - 17, 2005)
Folder 17 HCLO Miscellany (1986-1989; undated)

Box 5
Scrapbook 1 HCLO Scrapbook (1980-1981)
Scrapbook 2 HCLO Scrapbook: Annie Get Your Gun (1982-1983)
Scrapbook 3 HCLO Scrapbook: She Loves Me! (1982-1983)

Box 6
Scrapbook 1 HCLO Scrapbook (1976-1980)
Scrapbook 2 HCLO Scrapbook (1981-1984)

Box 7
Folder 1 West Side Story T-shirt
Folder 2 HCLO Posters
Folder 3 “Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts” Poster

Accession Number: AM09-02

Inclusive Dates: 1976 - 1978;1996 - 2008

Volume: 12 items

Given By: Jacque James

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Form of Material:

6 photographs:

1 is a black & white from Amahl & the Night Visitor performed in December, 1976, and 5 are color from South Pacific performed in May, 1978.

6 playbills:

Nunsense II , September 12-15, 1996

West Side Story , November 19-22, 1998

Oliver!, November 21-24, 2002

The Fantasticks , August 18-22, 2004

Grease , May 8-11, 2008

Nunsensations!, August 13-17, 2008

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