Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection Overview
Name of Creator:The Theater Offensive.
Title:The Theater Offensive records
Date:1977-2012 (bulk 1989-2011)
Reference Code:M82
Location Code:64/3-4, 56/2, 55/4, 37/3, FF5/D3, FF4/D4, Art File 19, RS9/S2 1-4
Extent:18.87 cubic feet (20 boxes, 7 flat file folders, 1 art file, 4 tubes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The collection documents the artistic and administrative processes of The Theater Offensive. Individual productions and festivals are documented by publicity materials, programs, and scripts. Education and outreach programs are documented by correspondence, scripts, surveys, meeting notes, and publicity materials. The Theater Offensive's relationship with the queer performance community is documented by submissions and offers of potential collaborations. Administrative processes are documented by board minutes, financial reports, extensive grant files, strategic planning records, and newsletters. Of particular interest is Series 10: Photographs, which includes portraits, publicity photographs, and performance photographs.
Historical Abstract:The Theater Offensive was founded in 1989 by Abraham Rybeck “to form and present the diverse realities of queer lives in art so bold it breaks through personal isolation and political orthodoxy to help build an honest, progressive community.” The Theater Offensive mounts and produces festivals and individual productions by national and local queer performers, and also serves as a development environment for new theatrical work. In addition, The Theater Offensive works to build community through education, outreach, and political activism.
Language and Scripts:The majority of the materials are in English. Some materials are in Spanish.
System of Arrangement:Organized into 11 series: 1. Administration; 2. Early and In-House Productions; 3. Education and Outreach; 4. Grants; 5. OUT on the Edge; 6. Other Festivals and Productions; 7. Plays At Work; 8. Submissions and Potential Collaborations; 9. General Press; 10. Photographs; and 11. Memorabilia.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Rybeck, Abraham P.

  • The Theater Offensive.

  • African American gays
  • Asian American gays
  • Drama festivals
  • Gay dramatists
  • Gay theater
  • Gays and the performing arts
  • Hispanic American gays.
  • Lesbian dramatists
  • Minority gays
  • Minority lesbians
  • Theater and youth--Massachusetts--Boston.
  • Theater management--Massachusetts--Boston.
  • Theater--Gay theater--Massachusetts--Boston.
  • Theater--Political aspects--Massachusetts--Boston.
  • Theater--Production and direction.
  • Theatrical companies.

Conditions Governing Access:Personnel records (box 8, folder 9 and 32; box 9, folder 7, 18 and 19; box 10, folder 28; box 11, folder 2, 15, 23, 29 and 39; box 12, folder 9 and 42; box 14, folder 14-17, 19-20, and 47; and box 15, folder 36 and 77, box 16, folder 10, and box 18, folder 56) are restricted for 75 years from their date of creation. Special copyright restrictions may apply.
Technical Access:One 3.5 floppy disk in box 10, folder 15 will not open. Two DVDs (box 15, folder 58 and 75) are Mac formatted.
Immediate Source of Acquisition:Received from The Theater Offensive.
Accruals:Further accruals are expected.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:Copyright restrictions may apply.
Related Archival Materials:

The Archives and Special Collections Department capture the website content of the The Theater Offensive, which is accessible at:*/

Processor: Finding aid prepared by Molly Overholt, 2005; Cynthia Rufo, 2009; Migyeong Geum, 2012; and Kieran McGhee, 2015.