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Regent Theatre Programs Collection

Identifier: RH-A-4307

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of twenty programs from the Regent Theater in Kalamazoo ranging from 1919 to 1930.


  • Creation: 1919-1930


Regent Theater History

Established by “Colonel” Walter Scott “W.S.” Butterworth (b.1867 d.1936) the Regent Theater opened in Kalamazoo in 1919. Located on the east side of S. Rose St, the theater formerly known as the Academy of Music (1882-1919) was managed by Roy Tillson (b.1887 d.1942) from the time of its opening. The six-piece house orchestra was led by Donald “Don” Warren (b. 1893 d. 1964) The theater itself was remodeled to seat an audience of at least 650 and ran a variety of vaudeville performances and motion picture films.

W. S. Butterworth Biography

W.S. Butterworth, also known as “The Bijou Man” or “Michigan’s Theater Man,” established a series of vaudeville theaters across Michigan. In 1905, he first built these entertainment houses in Battle Creek, Jackson, and Kalamazoo. However, his business soon expanded to other cities such as Flint, Bay City, Ann Arbor, Saginaw, and Lansing. Touring acts performed weekly at these theaters, sometimes accompanied by short films as the popularity of the motion picture grew. Troupes who frequently performed at the Regent include the Robert Henderson Players and the Wright Players. Butterfield also established three other popular theaters in Kalamazoo; The Bijou (est. 1905), the Majestic (est. 1907) and the State Theatre (est. 1927). On June 11, 1930, the Regent Theater was destroyed in a fire.


.05 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The programs were found in the collection.

Physical Description

This collection amounts to .05 cubic feet and is composed of twenty programs for various performances at the Regent Theater in Kalamazoo. The programs are all printed in black ink on varying colors of paper. Three programs are folded vertically and measure 5.5” x 18.” Fifteen of the programs are folded horizontally and measure 7” x 9.5.” One smaller program is also folded horizontally and measures approximately 5” x 6.5.” Each program varies in typeface and layout depending on the production, but each performance program consists of the same information. Cast lists, performance dates (no years listed), ticket prices, production titles, upcoming productions, and advertisements for local businesses in the Kalamazoo area. All programs are in good condition, though some show signs of aging such as discoloration, smudging, and small tears.

Genre / Form


Regent Theatre Programs Collection finding aid
Ella Nelson; Stephanie Chapman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490