Wednesday, September 21, 2011

McAuley-Kilgore Theatre Library Begins to Take Shape

Posted by Bruce Miller
When Theatre IV was asked by the Barksdale Board of Trustees in the summer of 2001 to assume artistic and business management of Central Virginia's longest standing professional theatre, we immediately responded with an enthusiastic "yes!" One of the programs that came with this new package of responsibilities was the McAuley-Kilgore Theatre Library, named in honor of Barksdale's legendary leaders: Muriel McAuley, David (Pete) Kilgore, and Nancy Kilgore.

In 2001, and throughout the decade that followed, the McAuley-Kilgore Library was distinguished only by a name posted in gold letters over the double doors that are positioned between the library and the lobby at Barksdale Willow Lawn. There were no book shelves in the library. There were no books--actually, there were quite a few old scripts and reference volumes, but they were all packed away in boxes.

As we marked the tenth anniversary of the Barksdale / Theatre IV alliance this past summer, we were able to shed a wee bit of embarrassment as we proudly noted that the Shameful Case of the Library that Wasn't was finally being addressed. Custom bookshelves had been installed last spring by David Powers, our ├╝ber-hardworking tech director for Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern. And the treasured tomes that had once known the touch of Muriel, Pete and Nancy themselves had been released again into the fresh air and light of day.This fall we plan to organize more effectively the Library and its invaluable theatre collection. All of our books are being recorded into an on-line card catalogue, lending policies are being established, bookplates are being designed and printed to acknowledge all individual donors, and, most importantly, additional volumes are being sought to add to our growing collection.

The photo posted at the top of this article shows mostly empty shelves. It's an old photo. The shelves are now actually filling up quite nicely (see photo below)--but there's always room for more.

Anyone who has ever tried to locate a script or theatre reference work in the Richmond, Chesterfield or Henrico public libraries knows that there is a definite need in Central Virginia for an expanded theatre collection. It is our goal for the McAuley-Kilgore Theatre Library to help to address that need. We are confident that Muriel, Pete and Nancy would be pleased, proud and honored to know that their books and their legacies were being put to good use.

If you have any scripts, theatre recordings (audio or video), theatre reference works or texts, stage novels or biographies etc. (and who among us doesn't?), and you would like to donate these pieces and parts of your own legacy to the McAuley-Kilgore Theatre Library, either now or in your will, please contact my assistant, Brittany Taylor, at 783-1688 ext 1113, or at b.taylor@ (insert the name Barksdale here) We will be grateful to receive your tax deductible donation to Central Virginia's newest public access, lending and perusal library for the theatre arts.

Also, we are seeking to expand our significant collection of Richmond theatre playbills, posters, etc. into a comprehensive, readily available, theatre archive representing ALL of Richmond's theatrical endeavors. Unique originals will be copied and donated to the official archives at the Library of Virginia. Copies and duplicate originals will be kept in regular (not archive quality) files in the McAuley-Kilgore Library, for perusal only.

No matter which theatre your old playbill collection may represent, if it's a theatre with a Richmond connection, we'd love for you to consider donating your programs to the Library.

All donations to Barksdale Theatre are fully deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Finally, we are also seeking Library volunteers. If you'd like to put in a few hours every now and then, cataloging the collection, please let Brittany know. We'd feel honored to work with you.

Thanks for helping support Richmond's nonprofit, resident professional theatre as we seek to improve the McAuley-Kilgore Library and its collections.

--Bruce Miller

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