The John Edw. Blankenchip Festival Theatre USA Archive Project was undertaken to preserve and share materials documenting John’s work on the Fringe of the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.
John devoted his life to taking companies of student and professional actors overseas to participate in the program. And to paraphrase John, it is “to our colleagues who are no longer with us to play, to collaborate and to applaud” that this site is respectfully dedicated.
When John died in 2009, the following materials remained in his apartment, which he shared with his dear friend and colleague Alan Hubbs. After Alan’s sudden passing, a few of us, thanks to FTUSA alum Joan Jack and Alan’s family, were able to gain access to the space for a brief time in order to salvage what documents we could. Prior to his death, John expressed his desire to have these documents turned over to the archives at USC. That request was honored, but we wanted to be able to share them prior to their going into storage.
On this site are digitized images of what was collected: photos, programs, reviews and more, spanning five decades. Hundreds of productions, hundreds of actors, and endless memories. This site primarily contains materials from productions done overseas, however, some photos were simply too lovely to omit, various snapshots, rehearsal photos from Long Day’s Journey into Night with a young Robert Vaughn, pictures from an Experimentals production of Billy Budd, and more.
This project is purely a labor of love. None of the materials found at John’s were organized, dated, or identified. Much appreciation goes to Dean Robert Scales for creating the databases of productions, years, and participants from which we tried to make sense of the array of materials.
There are some years with little or no content. If the year in which you participated is underrepresented and you have documents/photographs let us know. We can add your digitized images. You will inevitably find errors and typos here. Get in touch and we will do our best to correct them.
Finally, we urge you to look all around the site, rather than single out the year(s) in which you participated. In undertaking this project, we were most struck and inspired by the scope of John’s work; a half-century span of people, art, politics and style. All of it fascinating, all safely stored here. We hope these pages will be a catalyst for your memories, and we offer this site to memorialize and share the joy and life-changing experiences that John offered us all. It is a sweet, sentimental journey.
Michael Etzrodt & Margo Upham – Co-Founders