Theatre Impact

 Theatre Impact, a troupe founded by Webster College (later Webster University), began in the summer of 1962 with a cast and crew of professional actors, college students, high school students, and teachers.1 Wayne Loui, a faculty member at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, was hired to direct the first season's productions2.

Theatre Impact troupe at Kirkwood Park.

The first season included the following plays3:


  • Doctor in Spite of Himself (by Moliere)
  • School for Scandal (by Richard Sheridan)
  • Henry IV (by Luigi Pirandello)
  • Medea (by Euripides)
  • Comedy of Errors (by William Shakespeare)


Henry IV, originally announced as the third production, was replaced with The Lady's Not for Burning by Christopher Fry 4.


In 1963, the second season of Theatre Impact featured the following plays5:


  • Cyrano de Bergerac (by Edmond Rostand)
  • The Lark (by Jean Anouilh)
  • Antigone (by Sophocles)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (by William Shakespeare)
  • Macbeth (by William Shakespeare)


For its third season in 1964, Theatre Impact moved offcampus to Kirkwood Park and offered the following plays6:


  • Othello (by William Shakespeare)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (by Oscar Wilde)
  • J.B. (by Archibald MacLeish)
  • The Taming of the Shrew (by William Shakespeare)
  • The Teahouse of the August Moon (by John Patrick)


In 1965, the final season of Theatre Impact featured the following productions7:


  • Death of a Salesman (by Arthur Miller)
  • Arms and the Man (by George Bernard Shaw)
  • Romeo and Juliet (by William Shakespeare)
  • Rhinoceros (by Eugene Ionesco)
  • The Lady's Not for Burning (by Christopher Fry)


The opening of the Loretto-Hilton Center in May 1966 provided a permanent home back on the main campus. Theatre Impact itself ceased to exist as a summer stock company. Instead, a professional company in residence at the college was established which later became known as the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis8.



1'Theatre Impact' plans 5 plays in professional summer stock. (1962, January 12). The Web, vol. 38, no. 7, p. 1.

2W. Loui joins 'Impact' staff. (1962, February 9). The Web, vol. 38, no. 8, p. 1.

3Director schedules 'Impact' auditions for early March. (1962, February 23). The Web, vol. 38, no. 9, p. 1.

4Summer stock swings into fourth week. (1962, July 17). The Web, vol. 39, no. 1, p. 1.

5Theatre Impact plans season. (1963, February 1). The Web, vol. 39, no. 9, p. 1.

6Theatre Impact in Kirkwood Park. (1964, May 1). The Web, vol. 40, no. 10, p. 4.

7Webster's annual Theatre Impact will open its 1965 season... (1965, April 30). The Web, vol. 41, no. 9, p. 1.

8Beltz, Maggie. (1966, April 15). Professionals combine with students. The Web, vol. 43, no. 11, p. 3.



Additional references

4 NY actors, 8 WC actresses star in 'Impact'. (1962, May 4). The Web, vol. 38, no. 13, p. 1.

Impact ready to run. (1963, May 3). The Web, vol. 39, no. 12, p. 3-4.

Summer stock seeks to stimulate cultural activity through drama. (1962, April 13). The Web, vol. 38, no. 12, p. 3.

Summer stock staff grows; show people endorse effort. (1962, March 30). The Web, vol. 38, no. 11, p. 7.