Scottish Theatre Archive

Scottish Theatre Archive

The Scottish Theatre Archive forms part of Special Collections within the University of Glasgow Library. Its role is to help preserve Scotland's theatrical heritage by providing a safe and accessible home for archival material relating to Scottish theatre. It also acts as a major centre for enquiries, providing information from its own holdings or by directing researchers to other repositories. It attracts scholars, students, theatrical practitioners, historians and members of the public from all parts of the world.

The Archive was founded in 1981 with funding from the Scottish Arts Council. Further money was provided by some charitable organisations including the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Scottish International Education Trust and the Duncan Macrae Memorial Fund. Since 1985, however, the University Library alone has been responsible for its funding and staffing.

The Archive's coverage of Scottish theatre is very broad, and includes traditional and contemporary aspects, as well as serious and popular works. Among the largest collections are the archives of the Citizens Theatre, Scottish Ballet, including material from its beginnings as the Western Theatre Ballet, the BBC Radio Scotland script collection and the Jimmy Logan collection of music-hall material. Other collections include material relating to many Scottish theatres and companies, such as the Scottish National Players, Wilson Barrett Company, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The contents of the different collections vary, but in general they include programmes, scripts, production notes, photographs, posters, and press-cuttings. Some of the collections also include business papers and correspondence. The Archive has extensive holdings of playscripts, totalling over 7,300 titles. As well as scripts relating to productions by companies for which there are major holdings, and large collections of published play texts, there are several separate script collections, including those of John Cairney, Michael Elder, Robert Kemp, and the Scottish Society of Playwrights.

There is a dedicated online catalogue from which records to the holdings of the archives catalogued so far may be accessed.