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Nicholas A. Patricca papers

Identifier: MSS0027

Scope and Contents

This collection contains general information relating to Patricca's career and his involvement in the arts, personal correspondence, correspondence specific to each play's production, published editions of Patricca's works, his poetry and videos of interviews and performances.


  • 1978-2012


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Nicholas Patricca is an internationally published and produced playwright, poet, and essayist. He is a founding member of the Chicago Alliance for Playwrights, a member of the Dramatists Guild, and a member of the Freedom to Write Committee of International PEN (San Miguel Chapter). Patricca received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago in 1972. In a 2013 article from the Windy City Times, Patricca is quoted as saying that even today, the Catholic faith is able to inspire and to transform, to educate and to serve people wherever they are, whatever their needs, regardless of class, caste, color, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, politics or religion. In his curriculum vitae, Patricca writes that when creating a play he aims to employ the theatrical elements of language, movement, music, and spectacle in the service of story and action (Box 1A). He goes on to say that I write for the theatre because I love the theatre, and feel compelled to make plays. For me, theatre is a unique field of play within a world of art in which artists and audience can mutually recognize, make, and share a vision of what it means to be human. Patricca has also taught extensively on both theological and theatrical topics. Currently a Senior Professor Emeritus of theatre at Loyola University Chicago, Patricca has served as a playwright in residence at Victory Gardens Theatre since 1977 where one of his earliest plays, The Examen, was produced in 1980. It was one of the first gay plays at a mainstream venue in Chicago, and tells the story of a man who becomes Pope while struggling with his homosexual identity and enacting his clear vision of how the Church should change (Baim, Tracy. Out and Proud in Chicago, Agate Publishing: 2009). Patricca’s plays often address themes of religious faith, peace and justice, as well as major political events. This often aligns them with other collections held within the DePaul University Special Collections and Archives. For example, The Fifth Sun is a chronicle of the last three years of the life of Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador (1977-1980) who spoke out openly against poverty, social injustice, and torture (Boxes 5-9). The work is so named after the five suns in the Mayan cosmos: four of them represent cultivation, rain, life and death. The fifth sun is a human being whose destiny is to save his people. Patricca also corresponded with Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest well-known for his anti-violence protests. A noteworthy letter from Berrigan to Patricca discusses Berrigan’s most recent legal battles following a protest at Pearl Harbor in 1993, in which Berrigan writes as we say at wakes, the worst is over before requesting that the two spend time together in the future (Box 1B).


10 Linear Feet (30 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Nicholas A. Patricca Papers are organized into five series: 1. Biographical and Professional Files; 2. Plays; 3. Poetry; 4. Oversized; 5. Audio and Video. Series are arranged alphabetically or chronologically; see series-level arrangement notes for additional details.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 1999.41; 2000.23; 2001.13; 2001.45; 2004.14; 2007.19; 2011.34

Related Materials

Victory Gardens Theater collection; The Defiant Muse: The Story of the Life, Work and Times of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. SpC. 812.54 P314d2009; The Fifth Sun: A Play in One Act. SpC. 812.54 P314f1992; Gardinia’s ‘n’ Blum: A Comedy. SpC. 812.54 P314g1989; The Idea of Chaos (sex, death, life, and order) at Key West. BGN. 811.54 P3145i1991; Oh, Holy Allen Ginsberg : Oh, holy shit sweet Jesus Tantric Buddha Dharma Road! : A Full Length Serio-comedy in Two Acts. SpC. 812.54 P3145o1995; An Uncertain Hour: A Full-Length Play in Two Acts. BGN. 812.54 P314u1995, SpC. 812.54 P314u1995; Where Shadows Fall. BGN. 811.54 P3145w1994, SpC. 811.54 P3145w1994; The Fifth Sun. (Audiobook). SpC. 812.54 P3145f2010; Fr. James Brockman papers; Daniel Berrigan papers

Guide to Nicholas A. Patricca papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the DePaul Special Collections and Archives Repository

John T. Richardson Library
2350 N. Kenmore Ave.
Room 314
Chicago Illinois 60614