|The view from the Burnsville School of Fine Arts, late 1940s|
Over the next four years, the curriculum expanded, and the school adopted a name more inclusive of the courses taught -- the Burnsville School of Fine Arts of the Woman's College. In addition to classes in theater and drama, students could take courses in art, creative writing, dance, education, and music. Men and women were both allowed to take classes, but enrollment in the drama program was strictly limited to fifty students.
In that time of initial development, however, some argued that Taylor's drama background meant that he, as the school's director, emphasized theater over the other parts of the curriculum. Ticket sales for dramatic performances also were lagging behind estimates. As a result, in 1952, leadership of the school was transferred to Gregory Ivy, head of WC's art department. At that time, the school was also recognized as a fully accrediting branch of the college, offering scholarships as well as undergraduate and graduate credit on the same basis as work completed during summer session on the Greensboro campus. Branches of the college library and bookstore were also established in Burnsville.
But these changes did not fully revive the school. In 1954, the school was moved from Burnsville to Beaufort on the North Carolina coast. WC had a marine biology program in Beaufort, and, before the establishment of the Burnsville School, Ivy had briefly led a "summer colony" in Beaufort that focused on "advanced landscape painting." But, the move to the coast wasn't enough to save the program. In 1955, Chancellor Edward Kidder Graham made the decision to terminate WC's connection to the school and the Playhouse.
|Exterior of the Parkway Playhouse from the 1950s|
This post is one in a series focused on the 2015 North Carolina Archives Month theme "Celebrating Archives: North Carolina Arts, Crafts, and Music Traditions." North Carolina Archives Month, celebrated each October, is an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities, and people.