Guide to the Craig Noel collection

Finding aid prepared by Ashley Toutain
University of San Diego, Archives and Special Collections
Copley Library
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Telephone: 619-260-2730
© 2019

Overview of the Collection

Title: Craig Noel collection
Date (inclusive): circa 1920-2010
Date (bulk): 1958-2010
Collection number: USDSC_2019_004
Creator: Noel, Craig
Extent: 10 total boxes, 4 oversize plus one oversize folder, (11.5 linear feet)
Repository: University of San Diego, Archives and Special Collections
Copley Library
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Abstract: This collection contains the photographs and awards of Craig Noel, founding director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.
Languages: English

Biographical Note

Craig Noel was born in Deming, New Mexico in 1915. His family moved to San Diego in 1918. Noel's career with San Diego's Old Globe Theatre spans over 60 years, from 1937 to his death in 2010.
The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park was built in 1935 for the California-Pacific International Exposition. Theatre performances during the exposition were shortened versions of Shakespeare's plays. While the Old Globe was originally slated to be torn down after the exposition completed, the shortened Shakespeare performances were so successful that the San Diego Community Theatre formed to preserve the theatre. Craig Noel's career with The Old Globe began in 1937, the year it opened as a permanent theatre. Noel began with acting and first acted in John Van Druten's "The Distaff Side." He then moved into directing and in 1939, Noel became The Old Globe's general director. He then moved to titles of Resident Director, Artistic Director, and Founding Director.
Craig Noel launched the San Diego National Shakespeare Festival in 1949. In 1980 he helped launch Teatro Meta, the Globe's bilingual theatre company. In 1987, due to a lack of classically trained actors to support The Old Globe, he and then Vice-President and Provost of the University of San Diego Sally Furay, RSCJ, established The Old Globe and the University of San Diego Master of Fine Arts in Acting program. Over the course of his career, Noel directed and produced hundreds of plays, raised money for the reconstruction of the theatre, and received many awards for his work.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains the awards, documents, and photographs of Craig Noel. The bulk of the awards were presented to Noel in honor of his decades of contribution to San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. Awards also include Old Globe Atlas awards. Documents include tributes to Noel and to the Old Globe along with script books. Photographs include those taken during travel, actor photographs, photographs of Noel, and albums of the Shanghai Drama Institute, Shanghai People’s Art Theatre, and Shanghai Youth Drama Troupe.



This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

[Folder Title], Box # Folder #, Craig Noel collection, Copley Library, University of San Diego, Archives and Special Collections.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ashley Toutain in 2019.

Related Material

See also the "Guide to the Old Globe Theatre Records" held at San Diego State University.


Weber, Bruce. "Craig Noel, a Force in Regional Theatre, Dies at 94." New York Times, April 11, 2010.
Welsh, Anne Marie. "Appreciation for Craig Noel, the spirit of The Old Globe." San Diego Union-Tribune, April 11, 2010.
Braunagel, Don. "Our First Noel." San Diego Magazine 57, no. 10 (August 2005): 102-105.

Index Terms

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Noel, Craig, 1915-2010

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Shanghai Youth Drama Troupe
Shanghai People’s Art Theatre
Shanghai Drama Institute
Old Globe Theatre (San Diego, Calif.)

Subjects and Indexing Terms

San Diego (Calif.)
Shanghai (China)
Beijing (China)


Series I: Awards 1958-2010

Box 1

Old Globe Atlas awards 1958-1966

Box 2

Old Globe Atlas awards 1967-1973

Box 2

Craig Noel - Old Globe Theatre white hard hat undated

Box 2

Mayors Living Treasure Award 1984 May 19

Box 3

Southwestern College Theatre Department 50 year appreciation to Craig Noel plaque undated

Box 3

California Theatre Councils Theatre Survivor plaque 1980

Box 3

3’s Company and Dancers to Craig Noel plaque 1985 August 10

Box 3

San Diego Press Club Headliner Craig Noel Legend, Theatre Arts plaque 1987

Box 3

San Diego Junior Theatre plaque 1994 July

Box 3

Elder Help of San Diego award 1995

Box 3

International Living Legacy Award plaque 2001

Box 3

San Diego Theatre Critics Circle plaque 2002

Box 3

Katherine McGrath Best Actress-Comedy Memoir trophy 2002

Box/Folder: 4 / 1

San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award 1986-1987

Box/Folder: 4 / 2

“Year of Craig Noel” Proclamation 1987

Box/Folder: 4 / 3

Actors Alliance of San Diego Award 1997 June 13

Box/Folder: 4 / 4

Camp Orbit Theatre Camp recognition undated

Box 5

Wells Fargo stagecoach – signed by Oscar Cortes for Craig Noel 50th anniversary 1987

Box 5

Bravo Lifetime achievement award vase 2005

Box 6 (Oversize)

Puppet - Craig Noel as Hamlet 2005

Scope and Content Note

[With sign that includes the text: "Bravo San Diego 2005 honor Craig Noel “Mr. San Diego” Bravo Lifetime Achievement Award. Portrait Puppet courtesy of the San Diego Guild of Puppetry/Puppetry Center of San Diego. Artist, Dori Smith.]
Box 7

Puppet chair 2005

Box 8 (Oversize)

College Fellows American Theatre Metal undated

Box 8 (Oversize)

Teatro Máscara Mágica recognition 1990 June 21

Box 8 (Oversize)

Framed photo and plaque to Craig Noel Playwright Project’s Deborah Salzer Excellence in Arts Education Award 2010 November

Box 9 (Oversize)

Southwestern College Angel of the Year Craig Noel 1976-1977

Box 9 (Oversize)

League of Women Voters of San Diego to Craig Noel for Contributions to San Diego Arts and Entertainment 1996

Box 9 (Oversize)

Scull sculptures, white and pink glass undated


Series II: Documents 1938-2006

Box/Folder: 4 / 5

Catherine Isabella Noel Memorial Book 1966 August 31

Box/Folder: 4 / 6

Balboa Park Expositions A Book of Days 1982

Box/Folder: 4 / 7

San Diego Magazine with Tribute to 50 years of the Old Globe 1985 May

Box/Folder: 4 / 8

Scotland Road by Jeffrey Hatcher [script book] undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 9

Over the River and Through the Woods [Cast list and script] 2000 February

Box/Folder: 4 / 10

Backstage at the Globe 65th Anniversary Gala 2000 October 28

Box/Folder: 4 / 11

Notes of Gratitude Binder to Craig Noel circa 2006

Box 8 (Oversize)

A Sonnet Voyage – Conrad Susa, Commissioned by the San Diego Symphony dedicated to Craig Noel undated

Box 8 (Oversize)

To Craig Happy Birthday Love Mary Clark undated

Scope and Content Note

[Includes City of San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's Proclamation that October 21, 1984 would be Craig Noel Day. Also includes a December 1938 issue of The Community Player.]
Box 8 (Oversize)

Old Globe Theatre Lighting Design – John McLain 1979

Box 8 (Oversize)

Dangerous Liaisons music. E.C.S to Craig Noel 1994

Box/Folder: Map Case Drawer 5 / 1

Henry V - Old Globe Theatre [poster] 1978

Box/Folder: Map Case Drawer 5 / 1

Old Globe Theatre 60th Anniversary Season [poster] 1995


Series III: Photographs undated, circa 1980-2007

Box/Folder: 4 / 12

Group photo and photo of Noel as a child undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 13

Travel in China photographs and postcards undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 14

Assorted photographs primarily taken in China circa 1983

Box/Folder: 4 / 15

Photographs and Postcards – China, Balboa park and others circa 1983, 1996, undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 16

Photographs of travel through China undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 17

Photographs of furniture and accessories circa 1985

Box/Folder: 4 / 18

Photographs of furniture and accessories circa 1985

Box/Folder: 4 / 19

Photographs of furniture and accessories circa 1987

Box/Folder: 4 / 20

Assorted travel photographs circa 1987

Box/Folder: 4 / 21

Painting of clown titled "Forever Young," undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 22

Unidentified actor photograph undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 23

John McLain photograph undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 24

Craig Noel and Women photograph undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 25

Conrad Susa photograph 1993

Box/Folder: 4 / 26

Postcards 1994, 2002

Box/Folder: 4 / 27

Craig Noel and Woman undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 28

Craig Noel and dog undated

Box/Folder: 4 / 29

George W. Bush – National Medal of Arts 2007

Box/Folder: 4 / 30

National Medal of Arts Noel and President Bush 2007

Box 8 (Oversize)

Framed photograph of University of San Diego graduates undated

Box 9 (Oversize)

Shanghai Youth Drama Troupe album circa 1980

Scope and Content Note

[Includes images of actors during performances along with short descriptions and information about the play creators.]
Box 9 (Oversize)

Shanghai People’s Art Theatre album circa 1980

Scope and Content Note

[Includes images of actors during performances along with short descriptions and information about the play creators.]
Box 9 (Oversize)

Shanghai Drama Institute album 1983

Scope and Content Note

[Includes images of actors during performances along with short descriptions and information about the play creators.]
Box 10 (Oversize)

Travel through China photograph album circa 1980