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Primary Creator: Cutler, Jean (1927-2010)
Extent: 5.2 cubic feet
Arrangement: The collection is arranged in two series, Series 1: Audiovisual recordrins which is arranged alphabetical by performance/motif title; and Series 2: Performance Notes and Publications.
Date Acquired: 11/22/1996
Consists of original 16mm and 8mm films, reel-to-reel audio tape recordings, color slides, photographs, and personal papers pertaining to Jean Cutler's career as a graduate student in the Department of Speech, College of LAS, at the University of Illinois (1958-1962), as well as from his time as Professor of Theater at the University of Oregon (1962-1980) and, later, as a visiting artist in North Carolina (ca. 1990s). In addition there is an original manuscript for Cutler's book, "Sculpture of the Pacific Northwest: A Photographic Essay" (University of Oregon Press, ca. 1976). Of particular interest among these materials are two collaborative works, "Blue is the Antecedent of It" (1959) and "Cuthbert Bound" (1960) by Cutler and Lejaren Hiller, an early pioneer of electronic music at the University of Illinois.
These materials were part of a larger collection of Cutler's personal papers that was donated to the University of Illinois Music Library in 1996 and transferred to the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music in 2010. Materials retained by the Sousa Archives relate exclusively to Cutler's collaborations with Harry Partch and Kenneth Gaburo.
Jean V. Cutler (1927 -2010) choreographer, director, and Professor of Theater was born in Hampton, Virginia, in 1927. Performing at an early age, Cutler developed an enduring interest in film and experimental theater, including poetic theater, surrealism and futurism. He received his B.A. in English from Lynchburg College in 1955 and earned a M.A. (1959) and Ph.D. (1962) in Speech at the University of Illinois, submitting a dissertation titled "Realism in Augustin Daly's Productions of Contemporary Plays." As a student, Cutler staged premieres of avant-garde works by former School of Music faculty Kenneth Gaburo, an electronic music pioneer, and Lejaren Hiller, a founder of computer music at the University of Illinois, including Hiller's "Blue is the Antecedent of It" and "Cuthbert Bound." During this period, he also choreographed two works--"Revelation in the Courthouse Park" and "Water! Water!"--by innovative composer Harry Partch.
After completing his doctorate, Cutler became an instructor at the University of Oregon, where he taught and served as the University Theater Director. Cutler returned to Urbana in 1968 to develop "Web," a work about the playwright Web Smalley that was the second in a series of films about the creative process in the performing arts. In the spring of 1970, Cutler produced and directed Kenneth Gaburo's "LINGUA III: In the Can (a dialectic mix in 3 rounds)" at the University of Oregon Theater Workshop. Cutler also interviewed Harry Partch during the early 1970s with the intention of making a film, "The End of Life is Perception," that was never finished. After retiring from the University of Oregon in 1980, Cutler continued to direct and participate in the theater community. Between 1983 and 1986, he organized a professional theater company in Washington, D.C., and directed several plays. During the 1990s, he participated in North Carolina's visiting artist program at Mitchell College and Forsyth Technical Community College.
Acquisition Source: Jean Cutler;
Acquisition Method: Gift
Processing Information: The original films and reel-to-reel audiotapes were heavily spliced and when appropriate the processing archivists repaired failed splices following accepted archives preservation standards. In addition several bags of film outtakes were sampled and spliced together before they were mounted to archival quality film cores.