Performing Arts Collection
Musical Theatre
Musical Theatre

The enduring practice of staging large-scale international musicals in Australia is documented in the extensive collections from J.C. Williamson Theatres Ltd and the Gordon Frost Organisation. Home-grown musicals reflecting Australian stories are also represented, such as Lola Montez and The Boy From Oz.

Significant collections also trace the careers of musical comedy stars including Gladys Moncrieff, Evie Hayes, Maggie Fitzgibbon, Toni Lamond, Jeff Warren and Reg Livermore, along with designers such as John Truscott and Brian Thomson.

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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Bremner, Marie
Collection holdings include photographs, programmes. Musical Theatre 1924 - 1956.
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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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Clements, John
Collection holdings include documents, photographs, news clippings. Musical Theatre 1936 - 1957.
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Diamond, Dick
Collection holdings include booklets, correspondence, musical scores, photographs, programmes. Theatre 1953 - 1958.
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Elliot, Madge & Ritchard, Cyril
Cyril Ritchard (1898-1977) and Madge Elliott (1898-1955). Australian singers, dancers and actors. Collection holdings include correspondence, magazines, news clippings, photographs, programmes, scrapbooks. Musical Theatre 1927 - 1967.
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Ellwood, Cid
Collection holdings include musical scores, photographs, orchestra parts. Theatre / Composer 1950s - 1960s.
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Emerald Hill Collection
Collection holdings include news clippings, photographs, programmes. Theatre 1960s.
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Finlayson, Jon
Jon Finlayson (1938 - 2012) was an Australian actor, writer, director and producer. During the 1960s he created several long running intimate revues. He was the director, producer, costume designer and co-writer of the stage show 'The Glitter Sisters' (1970s). He appeared in and wrote for many Australian TV dramas.
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Fitzgibbon, Maggie
Collection holdings include correspondence, journals, news clippings, photographs, programmes, publicity, scrapbooks. Musical 1950s - 1980s.
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The Gordon Frost Organisation Collection
Ashley Gordon and John Frost established a privately-owned theatrical enterprise in Sydney known as The Gordon / Frost Organisation (GFO) in 1983. The Collection includes administration and production files, costumes, photographs, posters. Theatre / Musical 1984 - 1998.
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Higginson, Andrew & Lavisse, Enid
Collection holdings include correspondence, libretti, news clippings, objects, photographs, sheet music. Musical Theatre 1922 - 1982.
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Clifford Hocking and David Vigo Collection
Melbourne born Clifford Hocking (1932 - 2006) joined forces with David Vigo in 1965 and together they broadened the horizons of Australian audiences for the next forty years. The collection holds a large business archive consisting of records, photographs, promotional material and artist files. 1960s - 1990s
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Irving, Ursula
Ursula Irving was a substantial, although little remembered figure in Australian and UK musical theatre and pantomime from the 1940s to the 1960s. With her husband Gordon Girdwood, Irving toured with the Levante Magic Show and Peter Sellers.
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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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Kathner, Paul
During his 50-year career, Paul Kathner (1935-) has successfully pursued parallel roles, working as both a theatre designer and scenic artist. Collection holdings include costume and set designs. Date Range: 1968-2006.
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Kirk, Roger
Roger Kirk is one of Australia's leading costume designers. His career spans nearly forty years and crosses theatre, musical theatre, opera, dance, film and television. He has worked with a broad range of companies both nationally and internationally and and received numerous awards both here and overseas. Musical Theatre / Design 1998 - 2005.
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Lamond, Toni
Toni Lamond began her career in variety, and was an early star of Australian television. Her singing and comedic skills were highlighted on the now legendary In Melbourne Tonight, hosted by Graham Kennedy. Collection holdings include news clippings, photographs, programmes, scrapbooks, scripts. Vaudeville / Musical / Television c1937 - 1997.
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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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Lowery, Margaret "Meg"
Meg Lowery was a photography student in the early 1970s. She obtained permission from Garry Van Egmond, director of Harry M. Miller Attractions, to photograph the Melbourrne production of the ground-breaking rock musical "Hair" in 1971.
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Mack, Bobby
Bobby Mack was a vaudeville comedian, and performed with J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd for many years. The Bobby Mack Collection includes photographs, documents, scrapbooks, photo albums, costume designs and programmes and personal effects.
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Melbourne Theatre Company
Collection holdings include costumes, set models, photographs, programmes, scrapbooks. Theatre 1910 - 1948.
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Moncrieff, Gladys
Gladys Moncrieff (1892 - 1976) was one of Australia's most popular musical comedy stars, affectionately known to the public as "Our Glad". Collection holdings include photographs, scrapbook, sheet music. Musical 1912 - 1971.
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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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New Theatre
Collection holdings include biographical files, production files, scrapbooks. Theatre 1935 - 1998.
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Nicol, Don
Collection holdings include and object, photographs, programmes. Theatre / Comedy c1920s - 1943.
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Perryman, Jill
Jill Perryman AM, MBE, is recognised as one of Australia's most distinguished leading ladies of musical theatre. At the age of 19, Perryman began a long association with J.C. Williamson Theatres Ltd, initially joining as a chorus member. Collection holdings include costumes, photographs, correspondence, programmes and newspaper cuttings.
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Pinne, Peter
Actor, writer and composer, Peter Pinne, has created a considerable number of musicals with a uniquely Australia slant. Collection holdings include magazines, scripts, t-shirts. Theatre / Musical 1953 - 1990.
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Richards, Eric
In his role as Property Master, Eric Richards oversaw the design and realisation of theatrical props for well-known productions by the Tivoli Theatre and J. C. Williamson Ltd from the 1930s through to the 1960s.
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Sparks, Betty
Collection holdings include books, documents, photo albums, programmes. Musical Theatre 1937 - 1953.
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Stewart, Nellie
Nellie Stewart (1858 – 1931) Australian singer and actress. Collection holdings include news clippings, photographs, programmes, record sleeves. Musical Theatre 1915 -
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Taylor, Henry Herbert "Hickey"
Henry Herbert "Hickey" Taylor worked as the Stage manager with the J. C. WIlliamson Theatre Company.
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The Tivoli Circuit
By 1901, Harry Rickards' vaudeville companies could be seen in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and New Zealand. Throughout the greater part of the twentieth century, the Tivoli Circuit with its magical concoction of song, dance, comedy and spectacle provided theatre-goers with an opportunity to experience the best in Australian and international variety and vaudeville. Collection holdings include costumes, costume designs, photographs, programmes. Theatre / Vaudeville 1901 - 1966.
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Theatre Royal
Collection holdings include objects, photographs, programmes. Theatre 1885 -
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Thomson, Brian
Highlights of the Brian Thomson Collection include the set model for the Tony Award winning Broadway version of 'The King and I' and an extraordinary run of nineteen scrapbooks which reflect not only Thomson's work but those of his artistic collaborators from 1965 to 2001. Design (Theatre / Film) 1981 - 2002.
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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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Warren, Jeff
Collection holdings include autobiography, correspondence, photographs, programmes, works on paper. Musical / Theatre 1943 - 1999.
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Welch, Bettina
Collection holdings include correspondence, libretti, photographs, programmes, script, sheet music. Musica l Theatre / Television 1902 - 1992.
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Williams, Ainslie 'Babe'
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