THE ARCHIVES of three major figures in the 20th century theatre are to be catalogued and made available to the public for the first time in a joint project between the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
A cataloguing archivist will begin work this month on the 18-month RSC Creative People Cataloguing Project which will see them detail the contents of hundreds of boxes of material collected by John Barton, who was invited by Peter Hall to be a founder member of the RSC in 1960; its former musical director Guy Woolfenden; and former voice director Cicely Berry.
They will include notebooks, diaries, photographs, music scores and reference books, all of which will give an insight in their working and personal lives and the projects the three worked on with the RSC and other theatre companies.
John Barton is regarded as one of the most influential directors of Shakespeare of his time. He died in January. Composer and conductor Guy Woolfenden, who died in 2016, was head of music from 1963 to 1998. Cicely Berry, aged 92, was voice director between 1969 and 2014.
Trust head of collections Paul Taylor said: “Our mission as a charity is to promote the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times, and the essence of this project is to give a public insight into the careers and private lives of John Barton, Guy Woolfenden and Cicely Berry, who are significant people in the history of the RSC and the theatre industry as a whole.
“We care for the archive of the RSC, which includes images, prompt books, recordings, and printed material relating to the Company and its productions since its foundation, and are very excited to be collaborating with the RSC again by cataloguing this important collection of documents.”
Geraldine Collinge, RSC director of events and exhibitions, added: “We are delighted to have been given these three fascinating archives and look forward to them being catalogued and available for the public to enjoy.”
The trust cares for over a million museum, library and archive items. The collection, including an extensive local history archive, with records dating back to the 12th century, can be explored online. Visit www.www.shakespeare.org.uk for further details.