Collections: live art (The Live Art Archives)

All collections held in the Theatre Collection Live Art Archives are listed below. Not all of our collections are catalogued but they may still be accessed in person.


Record of Live Art Practice (RLAP) An archive of over 20,000 records of Live Art/Performance Art, primarily from the UK, from the 1980s to the present.  Mostly paper-based, although it does contain some videos and DVDs, audio-tapes and slides.  Includes full sets of Hybrid, Primary Sources and LiveArt magazines.  Also includes a set of Liveartwork DVDs and a complete set of Bobby Baker DVDs from her Daily Life series.
National Review of Live Art Archive (NRLA Archive) Primarily a video archive that holds footage of performances from the prestigious NRLA festival. The footage covers the period from 1986 to when the festival finished in 2010.
Digital Performance Archive (DPA) A video and CD-ROM archive, which also contains some printed material such as press cuttings and supporting information.
Arts Council England Live Art and Performance Archive (ACELAP Archive) Videos and documentation which represent the development of innovative contemporary arts practice during the '80s and '90s in the UK.
queerupnorth Video Archive (QUN Archive) The video archive consists of videos submitted by artists, along with other materials promoting their work, videos recorded by, or on behalf of, queerupnorth, mostly within venues in Manchester during the festival. The rest of the archive is held in Manchester.  
Franko B Archive Archive of the internationally renowned performance artist, which includes material in a wide variety of formats related to his performances, screenings, exhibitions, collaborations, mentoring, books and visual art.
Ian Smith Archive Archive of the artist, performer, musician, dancer and poet; Zap Club compere, Archaos ringmaster, co-founder of Mischief La-Bas, and longstanding MC of the National Review of Live Art.
David Hughes Live Art Archive (incorporating Hybrid, LiveArt magazine and Live Art Listings) The archive includes video tapes, mini DV tapes, DVDs, catalogues, printed material, brochures, playbills, posters, ephemera such as day bills & fliers, plus a few iconic objects which date from 1978 to the present.
Alastair Snow Archive Archive of the artist and photographer which contains a wealth of material from his performances, including many photographs and props such as The Guerilla Squad masks and pieces of 'edible art' from the Edible Art Association event in 1981.
greenroom Archive Archive of the prestigious Manchester organisation which developed and presented local, national and international performance and closed in 2011. 
Bodies in Flight Archive 
Archive of the contemporary performance company formed in 1989 and closely related to the Bristol Drama Department.
P-Form Magazine Performance art news magazine, published in Chicago between 1986 and 1999
Hull Time Based Arts Archive (HTBA Archive)
Archive of Northern England's combined arts development agency and one of Europe's leading commissioners of performance and new technology art which closed in the mid-2000s.
Performance Magazine Performance magazine was a UK-based European cross-artform journal and the key UK Live Art/Performance magazine from the late 1970s through to the early 1990s.  Contained within its 66 issues is an unmatched history and account of the development of UK Live Art from that period.
Performance Matters Performance Matters (2009 - 2012) was a creative research project rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance. 

More about the live art collections

The Live Art Archives are supported by a wide range of AV and other resources in the Theatre Collection library including books on research into live art and performance art.  

UK Live Art Collection

The Live Art Archives web pages are included in the national Live Art Collection, which forms part of the UK Web Archive, a corpus of websites selected by leading UK institutions for their historical, social and cultural significance in the UK. The national Live Art Collection is maintained by the British Library in collaboration with the Live Art Development Agency, London.

Other Resources

Definitions of Live Art (Office document, 14kB).

Read the Live Art Development Agency's helpful information on What is Live Art?

The Live Art Archives have close links with Arnolfini Live's Archive, which is held at the Bristol Record Office and the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) in London. Students who are interested in Live Art for research purposes, can obtain a 20% student discount at LADA's online Unbound store. 

The British Library Experimental theatre and live art: audio and video recordings.

What's Welsh for Performance? was a research project devoted to uncovering and archiving the history of Performance Art in Wales.

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