The National Musical Theatre Archive Project

The overall objective of this project is to build a National Directory of Musical Theatre Archives covering all key aspects of this art form to ensure they are preserved, enhanced and that awareness is raised of the National Treasure of Cultural Heritage that Musical Theatre is.

The key aspects pertinent to this Project are personal papers, histories of people, personalities, buildings, personal and published materials including posters, programmes, advertising and recorded sound and vision associated with Musical Theatre.

Currently collections held by major institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Library, Bristol, Kingston and Manchester Universities are held in various phases of archiving, not all being available for research and study.  However, there are vast numbers of various sized collections that are held in various places such as schools, libraries, universities, local councils as well as those still held within families that are equally, if not more, important and are more regionally based and these are liable to be, at the worst lost, ignored or decaying. This Project will locate these and encourage the holders to either place them in suitable research areas or help with the archiving locally.

The initial phase of the Project is to put in place a National Directory of Archives that will continue to grow with time and awareness.  This Directory of living Archives will detail the following:

  • Content of the Archive
  • Locality of the Archive
  • State of preservation
  • State of collection
  • Availability for research
  • Availability for public benefit
  • Availability for education

This Project is Nationwide and will encourage local involvement and initiatives.  It is envisaged that regional centres considered to be theatrical hubs are to participate with Southampton being the lead.  The final aim of the three year project will be to make available on line the Directory which will be on-going into the future as a living archive.