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Joshua Abbey Papers (MS-00820)


Collection is comprised primarily of files from approximately the early 1980s to 2017 detailing Joshua Abbey's theater and film career; his involvement with environmental efforts in Southern Nevada such as the Citizens Against Nuclear Waste in Nevada (CANWIN); and his involvement with the Jewish community in Las Vegas, including the Jewish Film Festival, the Jewish Federation, Temple Beth Sholom, and other organizations. The collection also includes information about the Jewish Community Center from the 1950s and a file on the film production of The Brave Cowboy, a novel written by his father, Ed Abbey.

Finding Aid PDF


1952 to 2017


1.69 Cubic Feet (2 boxes, 1 shared box)
11 digital_files (11 Optical Discs, 2.67 GB) MP4

Related People/Corporations

Scope and Contents Note

The collection primarily contains program and subject files spanning the early 1980s through 2015 on a variety of topics relating to Joshua Abbey's involvement in the Jewish community in Las Vegas, Nevada, including the Jewish Film Festival, the Jewish Federation, Temple Beth Sholom, and other organizations, as well as Abbey's time spent in New York working on theater productions. The collection provides information about the Jewish Community Center dating back to the 1950s. The collection contains files about Citizens Against Nuclear Waste in Nevada (CANWIN), the Yucca Mountain Universal Warning Sign competition, and the Las Vegas-Clark County Library Laureate Lecture Series. Also included are a scrapbook about the film production of Abbey's novel, Monkey Park, and various files on different theater and entertainment projects Abbey has worked on over the years. The bulk of the collection is comprised of material relating to productions Abbey acted in, produced, or was otherwise involved with, mainly from his time in New York in the 1980s. Also included is a file about the 1962 film production of The Brave Cowboy, novel written by Joshua Abbey's father, Ed Abbey.

Access Note

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.


Materials are arranged roughly by topic.

Biographical / Historical Note

Joshua Abbey was born to author, Edward Abbey, and artist, Rita Deanin Abbey in Alburquerque, New Mexico on April 12, 1956. Abbey first moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1964. He founded Theater Exposed, a company that produced numerous original and experimental theatrical productions. He studied with Lee Strasberg in Los Angeles, California and worked as a professional actor. Abbey eventually returned to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Theater. He went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Producing from the American Film Institute (AFI). His graduate thesis film was entitled Monkey Park and starred Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth.

In 1991, he was invited to the be the project manager for an innovative found art installation and concert in Bern, Switzerland titled Sound Bridge. After graduating from the AFI, Abbey returned to Las Vegas to work as the programming specialist for the Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center. During his tenure, he produced the Las Vegas Literary Film Festival and the Literary Laureate Lectures.

Abbey worked as the Program Director and Community Relations Director for the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas from 1995 to 1998. During this time, he established the Jean Weinberger Museum of Jewish Culture where he was the director and curator. Abbey produced several major community-wide events for the Federation, such as the Interfaith Coalition on the Environment, which established a unified religious opposition to the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

In 1998 Abbey founded the CineVegas Film Festival. Abbey was appointed by the Governor of Nevada to the Nevada Arts Council and served on the executive committee with a special focus on the Community Arts Development division of the agency from 2005 to 2008. Abbey served as the chairman of the City of Las Vegas Arts Commission from 2008 to 2010, where he helped author and successfully lobby for a Percent for the Arts ordinance that provided over $500,000 in annual revenue for the arts. Abbey also was the first full-time employee for the Blue Man Group's Las Vegas production where he was responsible for creating the initial promotion and marketing for the multi-media theatrical production.

As the director of the Desert Space Foundation, Abbey produced an international design competition exhibition related to the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Depository. A major focus of the Desert Space Foundation is the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival (LVJFF) which was founded in 2001. As of 2016, the LVJFF is the longest running film festival in Nevada. The film festival utilizes the art of film and interactive educational discourse to enhance and strengthen awareness of Jewish culture, history, and identity. As of 2017 Abbey is still the director of the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival and works for the non-profit organization, Robert Rock Belliveau and Rita Deanin Abbey Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Joshua Abbey Papers, 1952-2017. MS-00820. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Acquisition Note

Materials were donated in 2016 by Joshua Abbey; accession number 2016-068.

Processing Note

The collection was minimally processed by Tammi Kim in 2016 at the time of accessioning. The materials were quickly reviewed to provide a general description of the contents of each box and an estimate of dates represented in the material. Loose papers were foldered. Audio files were transferred from eleven DVD-RW optical discs and then converted from VOB files to MP4 for access. Content from one DVD-RW optical disc was not converted due to issues during transfer. The collection was further processed and described by Maggie Bukowski in 2017.

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