Finding a home for your records
Please contact us if you need advice about a collection or know of any significant theatre or live art records at risk of loss or disposal
At the Theatre Collection we collect, preserve and make available a world class collection of theatre and live art material and welcome offers of new material. We can also provide advice on caring for your collection and on finding an alternative repository if the Theatre Collection would not provide the most suitable home for it.
The quality of the materials held at the Theatre Collection reflects the generosity of our past donors, ranging from individual items to complete personal collections and company archives.
If you decide to donate your records to the Theatre Collection, you can be sure that your gift will be cared for to museum and archive standards and, once catalogued, made available to all users.
We will happily consider donations of material relating to theatre and live art that are within our collecting remit, detailed in our Collections Development Policy: 2016-2021 (PDF, 499kB).
Our Collections Development Policy is a comprehensive document, but the main points are:
- We collect material relating to a cross section of theatre-based activities in Britain, predominately: professional British theatre and live art.
- We particularly seek accessions that relate to the practice and process of theatre, and give an insight into creativity and its application.
- We prioritise collecting material that directly or indirectly relates to existing collections that will provide greater insight into these collections.
- We consider the collecting policies of other organisations collecting in the same or related areas or subject fields, in case a more appropriate home can be found and to avoid unnecessary duplication.
Additional information on donations:
Theatre Programmes: To avoid excessive duplication of material, we are currently not accepting theatre programmes until we have rationalised our current holdings of over 150,000 programmes.
Books: It is not our policy to accept routine donations of books unless they are rare books or of particular importance or relevance to our archival collections.
Journals: Although we have complete runs of some journals, such as Theatre World, we are keen to fill any gaps in our collection, particularly for older titles. Our journals list can be found here.
Digital files: Many collections now contain digital content, and we do accept donations of some digital files. It is complex to preserve digital material, so please see Advice for Digital Deposits (PDF, 179kB) if you are considering donating items with digital content.
Records that fall outside our collecting remit
If your records fall outside our collecting remit, please take a look at the following links or contact us so we can provide you with further advice on other repositories:
- Local record offices collect material that has significant historical interest to the geographical area they serve. To find your local record office you can use The National Archives Find An Archive directory
- For advice with managing business archives, please look at Managing Business Archives or for business records at risk due to company administration, liquidation or takeover, please contact the Business Archives Crisis Management Team
- To find other UK theatre collections, please look at list compiled by the Association for Performing Arts Collections (APAC)
Looking after your own records
However, if you wish to look after your own records, please have a look at our resources page with information on Caring for your own records.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to enquire about donating material.We will respond to every donation enquiry, however, please allow additional time for the acquisition process, which requires accessions committee meetings to assess donations. If you know that there are records of potential research value at risk of disposal, please contact us as soon as possible.