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30th Jun, 2022

Royal Shakespeare Company opens up historic photo archive

Ian Hughes 10th Sep, 2017

THE ROYAL Shakespeare Company has opened up its historic photo archive.

Images of over 200 productions have been released to the public – available online to browse, research or download.

The archive, which includes production photos spanning over 80 years of theatre in the company’s Stratford and London theatres, is being made available online to the public for the first time.

Productions from 1936 to the present day include past and current alumni including Judi Dench as Viola in Twelfth Night, Ian McKellen as a young Romeo, Meera Syal as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Patrick Stewart as Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra.

The photographic treasure trove can be searched via the company’s new image library, in several ways – by favourite actor, year, director or thematic keyword such as ‘revenge’ or ‘modern dress’ – and can be downloaded direct from the site free of charge for personal use, education use or private study, or requested as high-resolution for commercial uses.

The library will continue to expand as the company works its way through staging Shakespeare’s canon of plays under Gregory Doran’s leadership, with current production images being added as they join the artistic programme.

The RSC also regularly updates the public via social media to share its rich image archive with weekly posts on Instagram and Facebook #throwbackthursdays, #RSCThrutheLens and #flashbackfridays, which are proving popular with the company’s followers.

Michelle Morton, the RSC’s image manager, said; “We often get asked for images of our archive productions for a variety of uses, so we are really pleased to be able to share an array of our show photography online to the public in a dedicated and easily searchable format.

“Since sharing these images on social media, we know that people enjoy looking at and reminiscing about past productions, and up to now it’s been difficult for people to access these pictures independently.

“With over 80 years of theatre history encapsulated within the library, it will undoubtedly be of interest to those who are teaching the plays, to students who are researching areas such as costume or make up in theatre, or for our audiences who simply want to browse some of their favourite actors or remember iconic theatrical moments.”

Visit images.rsc.org.uk for further details.

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