Press release issued 30 January 2013
A fascinating archive of material including props, prompt scripts and photos from every production in the history of one of Bristol's premier arts organisations, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory (SATTF), has been donated to the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, one of the world’s largest theatre collections dedicated to British theatre history.
The archive will be moved into the Theatre Collection's premises on Park Row today.
The archive comprises 16 box files of material from productions staged by the company. Since its inception, SATTF has produced 25 Shakespeare plays as well as three by Chekhov, one by Molière and a Jacobean tragedy, and the company has used hundreds of actors and creative professionals.
Andrew Hilton, Artistic Director of Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, said: "We are delighted that the records, such as they are – prompt scripts, photographs, designs and a number of props – of our ephemeral art are going to find a permanent home at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection. It will cover nearly thirty productions from our very first in February 2000 and will be added to year by year."
Jo Elsworth, Director of the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, said: "We are very honoured that this prestigious theatre company’s archive has been donated to us. It will help bring the long and illustrious story of Bristol’s theatrical heritage right up to date and, once again, show that Bristol is at the forefront of producing high quality theatre. The archive provides a unique insight into the company’s work and will soon be made available to anyone who wishes to consult it.”
The company is currently in rehearsal for its forthcoming production of Richard III which opens on Thursday 14 February.
About Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory
SATTF is unique in the UK – a top class professional company performing full-cast classics in an intimate studio space. In its 14-year life it has gained both a national and an international reputation for some of the most vivid and compelling stagings of Shakespeare in the country, and played a key role in the transformation of a once deprived area of South Bristol. In 2001 SATTF won a national award – the Empty Space/Peter Brook Award – and the company’s reputation spread throughout the UK and beyond, culminating in the invitation to take its 2004 season production of Macbeth and The Changeling to The Barbican Centre for a five-week repertory season. SATTF’s audience has increased exponentially over the last 13 years, and its three month Bristol season now attracts audiences in excess of 22,000 annually.
About the University of Bristol Theatre Collection
The Theatre Collection is an accredited museum and one of the world’s largest archives of British theatre and Live Art. Its holdings cover all aspects of theatre history right up to the present day, and its visitors include everyone from international scholars to family historians.
It was founded in 1951 to serve the newly formed Drama Department (the first in any University). Throughout the last 60 years the Theatre Collection has continued to grow in order to reflect all aspects of theatre and performance. In 2010, the M&M Collection – 2,500 archive boxes of material collected by actors Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson – came to the Theatre Collection, so creating a highly comprehensive collection housed within an internationally renowned research facility which is open to all.
The Theatre Collection has strong links with local theatre companies and actors. It holds the archives of several local theatre companies including Bristol Old Vic, Desperate Men, and most recently, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory.
Gyuri Sarossy as Coriolanus 2001 - one of the many images in the SATTF archive
Image by Alan Moore
We are very honoured that this prestigious theatre company’s archive has been donated to us. It will help bring the long and illustrious story of Bristol’s theatrical heritage right up to date and, once again, show that Bristol is at the forefront of producing high quality theatre.