Performing Arts Collection
Drama
Drama

The presentation of drama in Australia - through comedies and tragedies, classics and new works - is documented in collections relating to many theatre companies, including J. C. Williamson Ltd, St Martin’s/Little Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, New Theatre, Playbox Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare.

Individuals represented include internationally recognised actors Oscar Asche, Frank Thring, Coral Browne and Zoe Caldwell, along with local heroes such as Bland Holt, Patricia Kennedy, Irene Mitchell and Sheila Florance.

Abbott, Guenda
Set Designer, Guenda Abbott (nee Bainton) studied in England at the Royal College of Art, London. The Guenda Abbott Collection includes photographs, programmes, scrapbook covering the areas Theatre / Opera / Design. Date Range 1935 - 1944.
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Alden, John
Collection holdings include photographs. Drama / Shakespeare. Date range 1920s - 1950s.
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Almost Managing Company
The Almost Managing Company collection includes books, photographs, production files, props, scripts, writers files. Theatre, 1970s - 1980s.
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Amateur Theatre Companies
Collection holdings include awards, photographs, programmes, scrapbook. Theatre - 1995.
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Anderson, Judith (Dame)
Dame Judith Anderson, AC, DBE (1898 - 1992) was an Australian stage and screen actress whose career spanned over 60 years, mostly based in the United States.
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Anthill Theatre (Australian Nouveau Theatre Company)
Collection holdings include photographs, promotional material. Theatre 1970s - 1990s.
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Asche, Oscar and Brayton, Lily
Husband and wife duo Oscar Asche and Lily Brayton each enjoyed successful careers in theatre before jointly managing the Royal Adelphi Theatre. Collection holdings include business records, correspondence, magazines news clippings. Drama / Musical Theatre 1871 - 1974.
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Australian Association of Theatre Technicians
Collection holdings from the Australian Association of Theatre Technicians include programmes and a theatre plan book. Theatre 1927 - 1959.
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Australian Performing Group
Australian Performing Group (APG) holdings consist of documents, flyers, newsletters, photographs, programmes, scripts. Theatre 1960s - 1980s
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Bell Shakespeare
The extensive Bell Shakespeare Company archive includes administration files, costumes, education material, photographs, posters, production files. Theatre (Shakespeare) 1991 - 2010.
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Bernhardt, Sarah
Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was an acclaimed French actress known for her captivating voice and stage presence. Her career was established in Paris at the Comedie-Francaise from 1862 -1880. Collection holdings include booklets, correspondence, object, programmes. Drama 1891 - 1911.
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Breheny, Mary Ward
Mary Ward Breheny's early career in British repertory theatre and film (1930s -1950s) is an example of the expatriate journey experienced by many Australian performers. The Performing Arts Collection holds a scrapbook documenting her career in theatre film and television. 1933-1990s.
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Brodziak, Kenn
Collection holdings include an autograph book, contract, correspondence, invitation, magazines, news clippings, personal effects, sheet music. Theatre / Music 1902 - 1993.
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Browne, Coral
Coral Browne (1913-1991) started her career in theatre as a member of the Gregan McMahon Players. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Coral moved between London and New York starring in both classical and modern drama in the West End and on Broadway and later starred in a number of films. Collection holdings include audio, business papers, correspondence, documents, news clippings, objects, photographs, programmes. Drama 1902 - 1986.
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Byrne, Noel
Cellist, pianist, actor and director, Noel Byrne began her musical career as cellist with the Geelong String Orchestra and Albert Street Conservatorium Orchestra. Collection Holdings include artwork, news clippings, scrapbooks. Drama 1936 - 1978.
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Capsis, Paul
Paul Capsis is one of Australia’s most versatile performers, with an extensive career which has included theatre, film, live concerts and cabaret.
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Children's Theatre Guild
Collection holdings include set designs, photographs, programmes. Theatre 1960s.
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Church Theatre
Collection holdings include documents, production files, programmes, video. Theatre 1983 - 1989.
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Clifton / Beyer Family
Family collection relating to the careers of Max Clifton (1883 - 1916 Richard McGuiness Fitzgerald, a sydney based melodramatic actor), singer Ruby Beyer, and actor Dan Clifton. The Collection includes artwork, newsclippings, invitations, postcards, sketchbook, photographs, programmes, script. Theatre / Drama 1902 - 1958
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Cobb, Judith
Judith Cobb (1961-2012) completed a Diploma of Arts (Fashion) at RMIT in 1981. From 1981 to 1983 she was Assistant Set and Costume Designer at Melbourne Theatre Company. Cobb designed productions for companies including Playbox Theatre, HIT Productions, Sydney Theatre Company, and Queensland Theatre Company.
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Colman, Hugh
Hugh Colman is one of Australia's pre-eminent theatre, dance and opera designers.
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Elocution and Recitals
A small collection under the general subject area of elocution including a song and recitation book. Elocution. Date range 1884 - 1991.
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Emerald Hill Collection
Collection holdings include news clippings, photographs, programmes. Theatre 1960s.
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Everyman's Theatre
Collection holdings include documents, news clippings, photographs, receipt books. Theatre 1948 - 1975.
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Fairfax, George
George Fairfax was Director of the Melbourne Little Theatre from 1956 to 1968 before being appointed Technical Advisor of the Building Committee of the Victorian Arts Centre in 1969, and was later appointed General Manager of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust (1980-1989). Collection holdings include diaries, reviews, documents, photographs, recordings and designs including Truscott costume design from Rashomon. Theatre Administration, Date Range 1980 - 1990s.
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Forbes, Lorna
Collection holdings include photographs. Drama c1910 - c1940.
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Fowlers Australian Dramatic Players
Collection holdings include books, news clippings, photographs, programmes, scripts, sheet music. Theatre 1918 - 1945.
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Fowler, Jack Beresford
Jack Beresford Fowler (1894 - 1972) English born actor and producer. Collection holdings include autographs, books, newsclippings, photographs. Drama c1910 - 1950s.
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Fulton, Agnes
Agnes Fulton played an integral part in the development of the Three Arts Festivals of the 1950s that were the forerunners of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust, The Australian Opera, and The Australian Ballet. In addition to performing on stage, Fulton composed the music for the National Theatre's production Ginger Meggs (1952), and later took on the role of Stage Manager for the production Top of The Ladder (1953).
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Gillies, Max
Maxwell 'Max' Gillies AM (born 16 November 1941) is an Australian actor and a founding member of the 1970s experimental theatre company, the Australian Performing Group.
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Gregan McMahon Players
Collection holdings include programmes, scrapbooks, scripts. Theatre 1918 - 1956.
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Grossi, Luzio
There are 47 photographs by Luzio Grossi in the Performing Arts Collection capturing Melbourne’s performing arts scene in the 1980s. Subjects include actors Malcolm Robertson, Frederick Parslow, Steve Bisley, Evelyn Krape, and magician Sam Angelico along with Barry Humphries’ comic creation Sandy Stone.
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Hoaas, Solrun
Solrun Hoaas (1943 - 2009) was a filmaker, Noh mask maker, teacher and printmaker. Born in Norway, Hoaas was educated in both Oslo and Japan.
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Holt, Bland
J. Bland Holt (1853 - 1942) Actor, Producer and Manager. Collection holdings include a book, correspondence, postcards, programme. Theatre / Drama. Date range 1901 - 1979.
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Hornery, Bob
The Performing Arts Collection holds scrapbooks and programmes relating to the career of Bob Hornery. Drama / Comedy 1953 - 1962.
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Jahn Family Collection
Collection holdings include books / booklets, news clippings, photographs, programmes. Drama 1908 - 1993.
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Jenyns, Essie
Essie Jenyns performed her first speaking role in 1879 at the Theatre Royal, Hobart, and then appeared in George Rignold's production of "Henry V" in Adelaide. By the age of 17 she was playing leading roles and in 1883 featured as the heroine in George Darrell's popular melodrama "Sunny South".
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Jeziorny, Richard
Richard Jeziorny has made a significant contribution to Australian stage design and scenic art during his career. The Collection includes examples of Jeziorny's work with Melbourne Theatre Company, Victorian College of the Arts, the Arts Centre, Malthouse, Melbourne Town Hall, WA Theatre Company, Melbourne Festival and Oz Opera.
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Kennedy, Patricia
Actor and radio personality, Patricia Kennedy OBE (b. 1917). Collection holdings include correspondence, news clippings, photographs, programmes, scrapbooks, scripts. Drama 1935 - 1995.
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Lamble, Lloyd
Lloyd Lamble (1914-2008) was an Australian actor who worked in theatre, television, radio and film. His film career took place in England after emigrating from Australia in 1950.
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La Mama
La Mama Theatre was established by Betty Burstall in 1967 and modelled on experimental theatre activities in New York. Collection holdings include correspondence, photographs, production lists, programmes. Theatre 1970s - 1990s.
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Lasslett, Frank
Frank Lasslett (1912 - 2003) singer, teacher, theatre technician. Collection holdings include photographs, documents, programmes and recordings.
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Livermore, Reg
Reg Livermore AO is a one of Australia's foremost performing artists. Best-known as a performer, he is also a writer and director. The costumes acquired by the Arts Centre have been selected to reflect Reg Livermore's artistry and with a focus on the characters and song numbers that were repeated in various shows.
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McBean, Angus
Angus McBean (1904 – 1990) was considered ‘court’ photographer by the British theatre world, capturing most productions in the West End and at the Old Vic, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Covent Garden, and the Royal Shakespeare Company from the 1930s up until the rise of ‘kitchen sink’ drama in the late 1950s.
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Melbourne Little Theatre / St Martin's Theatre Company
Collection holdings include annual reports, invitation, news clippings. Theatre 1970s - 1990s.
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Melbourne Repertory Theatre
Collection holdings include photographs, programmes, scrapbooks. Theatre 1910 - 1948.
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Melbourne Theatre Company
Collection holdings include costumes, set models, photographs, programmes, scrapbooks. Theatre 1910 - 1948.
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Melbourne Workers Theatre
Melbourne Workers Theatre (MWT) was established by Patricia Cornelius, Steve Payne and Michael White in 1987 during a climate of aggression towards trade unions. The acquisition covers the 38 productions staged by MWT from 1987 to 2010.
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Mill Theatre Company
Collection holdings include annual report, guides, newsletters, scripts. Theatre 1980 - 1983.
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Mitchell, Irene
Actor-director Irene Mitchell (1905 - 1995) was an important figure in Melbourne's theatrical circles for over 40 years. Collection holdings include costumes, jewellery, news clippings, photographs, programmes. Drama 1909 - 1995.
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Morley, Lewis
Born in Hong Kong in 1925, Lewis Morley first visited Australia in 1940, eventually emigrating in 1971. In 1959 he photographed Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance for the Royal Court and subsequently over 100 West End productions, including its up-and-coming young stars Susannah York, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith and Anthony Hopkins.
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Murray River Performing Group
Collection holdings include flyers, posters, programmes. Theatre 1980s.
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Myles, Bruce
Bruce Myles is an actor and director who has made an important contribution to theatre in Australia. This collection has been compiled by Bruce Myles from 1976 to the present and documents his career as a director.
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Nattrass, Sue
Sue Nattrass' performing arts career spans more than four decades and 600 stage productions. Collection holdings include programmes, scripts. Theatre 1970s - 1980s.
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National Theatre Movement
Collection holdings include correspondence, documents, memoirs, photo album, scrapbooks. Theatre / Opera / Ballet 1935 - 1973.
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New Theatre
Collection holdings include biographical files, production files, scrapbooks. Theatre 1935 - 1998.
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Not Yet It's Difficult (NYID)
NYID is the name given to the Melbourne-based company of mixed-media artists which produces cross-artform public performance projects and events under the artistic direction of David Pledger.
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O'Shaughnessy, Peter
Peter O'Shaughnessy, actor and producer. Collection holdings include news clippings, programmes (copies), reviews. Drama 1958.
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Parker, Trina
Trina Parker (1947 - 2005) first became involved in theatre in the late 1960s when she joined the New Theatre in Sydney. She worked as an actor, stage manager and prompt with the semi-professional company while studying interior design and architectural drafting. The collection includes designs, set models, photographs, production documents.
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Playbox Theatre Company
In 1976 Carrillo Gantner, Graham Blundell and Garrie Hutchinson together founded Hoopla Productions and mounted the first season of plays at the Grant St Theatre. The Playbox Theatre Archive collection is one of the most comprehensive and important experimental theatre company archives in Australia. It documents both the history of Playbox Theatre itself and of every production put on between 1976 and 2004,
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Pledger, David
David Pledger is a director, writer, actor, teacher and collaborator, and artistic director with Not Yet Its Difficult.
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Prins, Richard
Richard Prins (1938 - ) was a costume and set designer for the Melbourne Theatre Company for approximately 20 years, designing for over 50 shows during his tenure. He was best known for his set designs, and was awarded the Irene Mitchell Award for Set Design in 1965 and 1970.
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Radclyffe Theatre Productions
Radclyffe Theatre Productions was created in 1989 by co-founders Lois Ellis and Sara Hardy. Presenting original works celebrating the lives of women, the company toured around Australia and overseas and developed a strong following until its demise in 2002. Collection holdings include costumes, photographs, production documents.
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Randall, Brett
Randall emigrated to Australia in 1925, landing his first part in The Sport of Kings at the Athanaeum in 1926 and later establishing the Melbourne Little Theatre. Collection holdings include autographs, correspondence. Drama 1916 - 1956.
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Randall Play Agency
Collection holdings include an account book, cash book, correspondence, documents. Theatre 1919 - 1971.
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Robertson, Malcom
Collection holdings include costumes, production notes, programmes, scripts. Drama 1970s - 2000.
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St Martin's Youth Arts Centre
Collection holdings include administration, documents, programmes. Theatre 1970s - 1980s.
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St Martin's Theatre
Correspondence, documents, financial records, production data, scripts. Theatre 1939 - 1977.
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Tate, Jennie
Costume designer Jennie Tate (1947 - 2007) trained at the Melbourne Theatre Company before embarking on a multifaceted career in which she worked in theatre, opera, film and television.
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Terry, Ellen
Collection holdings include a handwritten note dated 1885 and a photograph. Drama 1885.
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The Theatre Guild / St Martin's
Collection holdings include administration, correspondence, documents, reports. Theatre 1960s - 1970s.
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Theatre Lovers' Club
The Theatre Lovers Club collection consists of programmes dating from 1911 - 1965.
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Theatre (General)
the General subject area collection relating to Theatre includes cards, correspondence, news clippings, promotional material. Theatre 1900 - 1984.
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Thring, Frank
Frank Thring (1926 – 1994) is remembered as one of Melbourne's most flamboyant theatrical figures. Correspondence, booklets, news clippings, photographs, programmes. Theatre / Film c1930s - 1992.
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Torch Song Trilogy
Collection holdings include props, cassettes, photographs, press reviews and other production information. Theatre 1984.
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Triffitt, Nigel
Nigel Triffitt is one of Australia's most innovative and visionary director/designers. Although widely associated with puppetry and visual theatre, Triffitt has worked in almost every field of the performing arts. The collection holds a large number of set models. Theatre 1980 - 1995.
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Vanbrugh, Irene
Collection holdings include correspondence, photographs, programmes. Drama 1923 - 1938.
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Warrandyte Arts Association
Costume designs, news clippings, newsletters, photographs, programmes, scripts. Theatre 1956 - 1981.
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Wilkie, Allan
Collection holdings include photographs and programmes. Drama (Shakespeare) 1920s - 1930s.
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J. C. Williamson Design Collection
J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd was the largest commercial theatre enterprise in the Southern Hemisphere for almost a century. The Lady Viola Tait Collection consists of almost 300 costume design drawings created by some of the leading European theatrical designers of the early twentieth century. Theatre Design 1920s - 1970s.
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J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd
When the curtain finally came down on J.C.Williamson Theatres Ltd, it became apparent that a repository was required for a century's worth of company records. With the support of Lady Viola Tait, thousands of documents were recovered and donated to the Performing Arts Collection in 1980.
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Withers, Googie and McCallum, John
John McCallum AO CBE died 3 February 2010. Googie Withers AO CBE died on 15 July 2011. This historically significant collection documents and reflects the careers of John MCallum and Googie Withers on stage and screen in Australia, the United Kingdom and America from the 1930s to 2010/11.
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Upward, George
George Upward (1877-1950), Australian scenic artist worked for J. C. Williamson Theatres Limited at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne. Collection holdings include paint brushes, scenery. Design 1930s - 1956.
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Viaduct Theatre Club
The Viaduct Theatre Club archive consists of programmes, tickets, newsletters and publications, minutes and statements. Theatre - Date Range 1960s and 1970s.
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