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1960s Bonstelle Theatre poster exhibit opens at Reuther Library

May 28th, 2013

To coincide with the 110th anniversary of the construction of what is now the Bonstelle Theatre, a new exhibit featuring a selection of Bonstelle Theatre posters from the early 1960s recently opened in the Woodcock Gallery at the Reuther Library.

The nine posters in the exhibit date from 1961-1965, a particularly strong period in the history of the Wayne State University Theatre. In the 1961-1962 season alone, the Bonstelle Theatre (including its active Student Stage) mounted 36 productions for a total of 154 performances. By 1965, after the addition of the Hilberry Classic Theatre, total annual attendance at the university’s theatrical performances exceeded 130,000 audience members.

The original posters were screenprinted and displayed in the lobby of the Bonstelle Theatre. Unfortunately, the artists didn’t sign their names to the posters, but the styles of the illustrators can be recognized from picture to picture — for example, the cartoonish faces in the illustrations for Don Giovanni and The Imaginary Invalid, and the curlicues in the details and lettering for Jack and the Beanstalk and The Member of the Wedding.

Visit the Leonard Woodcock Gallery on the first floor of the Reuther Library or view them online in the Reuther digital image gallery (Bonstelle posters)

For more history and information, visit

View a few examples in the gallery below: