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University of Bristol Theatre Collection
Cantocks Close
Bristol, UK

Phone: (0117) 3315086

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Theatre Collection The London Old Vic Archive

Hamlet, 1953-1954. Photograph - Angus McBean
Fay Compton and Richard Burton
Hamlet 1953-1954
Under the management of Lilian Baylis, the Old Vic became the centre of Shakespearean performance in Britain and between 1914 and 1923 staged all of Shakespeare's plays in the First Folio - an unprecedented venture, repeated again from 1953 to 1958.

During 1944 and 1950 the Company was under the artistic direction of Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and John Burrell, producing legendary performances at its temporary home of the New Theatre.

Between 1963 and 1976, it was the home of the newly formed National Theatre. Then, in 1982 the Theatre was sold to Ed Mirvish, who refurbished the building and hosted seasons directed by Jonathan Miller and Peter Hall.

For further information see the chronology.

Old Vic Poster for Othello 1951-1952

The Old Vic archive is a unique historical record of a London theatre and company, from its foundation in 1818 as the Royal Coburg Theatre, until the end of the Mirvish years in 1997. The Old Vic Archive includes the administrative and production records of the Old Vic Theatre Trust, Sadler's Wells, Morley College and the Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, as well as personal collections of people closely involved with the theatre.

The significance of the Old Vic lies in its role of providing the cradle for Britain's National Theatre, Royal Ballet and National Opera, as well as launching the careers of some of Britain's most notable actors and actresses, including John Gielgud, Richard Burton, Peggy Ashcroft and Judi Dench.

For further information about the contents of this collection search the online catalogue.

Further Reading
"The Old Vic Story - a Nation's Theatre" by Peter Roberts
"The Old Vic Theatre- A History" by George Rowell

Other Useful sites
Old Vic Theatre, Waterloo
Royal Opera House & Ballet, London
National Theatre, London
Royal Victoria Hall Foundation

For further information about the Theatre Collection please tel. 0117 331 5086 (daytime) or email