The theatre collection is the largest and most diverse part of the Performing Arts Collection. It represents many aspects of traditional and contemporary theatre including drama, comedy, magic, musical theatre, puppetry, vaudeville and variety.
At the centre of the theatre collection is the J.C. Williamson Theatres Ltd Archive, a vast photographic and paper-based collection generated by what was the largest commercial theatre enterprise in the Southern Hemisphere for almost a century. Other large collections highlight the contributions made at both a personal and company level to Australian theatre.
Significant individuals represented include performers Nellie Stewart, Gladys Moncrieff, Barry Humphries, Coral Browne, Frank Thring and Reg Livermore. Company archives relating to St Martins/Little Theatre, the National Theatre Movement, New Theatre, Handspan Theatre, Playbox Theatre Company, the Gordon Frost Organisation and Bell Shakespeare also provide a valuable insight into Australia’s stage history.
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