Dr. J. A. Easley, and Beth Perry of Durham, who was the first woman
to be admitted under the new coeducational policy, started separate
dramatics groups. Rather than work at cross-purposes they merged
their efforts as the Little Theater, and through World War II at least
four plays were staged each season in the auditorium of the Wake
Forest High School. One of these presentations, Night Must Fall,
presented in the fall of 1944, was so successful that it was taken on
the road and performed before a large audience of soldiers at Fort
Bragg. Directed by Clarence Bowen, the cast included Shelton Lewis,
Alice Holliday, Emily Crandall, Nan Lacy Harris, Mary Ida Moye,
Lew Smith, Jim Hobbs, Sibyl Jolly, and Bill McGill.
In those early years Prof. A. L. Aycock, surely the most versatile
man on the faculty, was adviser. He called on his artistic and me-
chanical skills to build a complete set of flats. With the arrival of Dr.
Franklin Shirley in 1948 and the addition of courses in stagecraft to
the curriculum, the theater got an official director. Prof. Charles M.
Allen helped out by designing and building sets, and Profs. H. B.
Jones and Justus Drake coached the players in classical drama.
Productions during this period included Ghosts and Othello; Cyrano
de Bergerac was the first play presented from the stage of the new
In 1952 Clyde McElroy became theater director, and among the
plays staged under his supervision were Romeo and Juliet, The Glass
Menagerie, and Death of a Salesman. With the removal of the college
to Winston-Salem and McElroy's departure for graduate studies,
James H. Walton was employed as speech instructor with respon-
sibility for the theater. It was he who designed the arena stage used
for years in the makeshift quarters on the eighth level of the Z. Smith
Reynolds Library. Dr. Harold Tedford joined the faculty in 1965 and
took over as the drama impresario in 1966. Over the years Wake
Forest theater developed from its admittedly amateurish beginnings to
an advanced degree of professionalism. With the grant of
departmental status to speech in 1962, more courses in applied drama
could be offered. That advanced tutelage was evident in the quality of
the performances, and the College Theatre became a valued resource
for the entire Winston-Salem community.
Religion continued to play a vital part in the life of Wake Forest,
and it was manifested in several ways. The study of religion was still
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