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University of Bristol Theatre Collection
Cantocks Close
Bristol, UK

Phone: (0117) 3315086

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Theatre Collection History of the Theatre Collection

Since its foundation in 1951 the University of Bristol Theatre Collection has expanded to become a Fully Accredited Museum and theatrical research centre. It also continues to serve its original purpose as a research resource for the members of the Department of Drama at the University of Bristol, and the Bristol community.

Our Acquisition Policy focuses on British theatre history, with particular strengths of theatre in the South West, Victorian theatre, Post-World War II theatre, Live and Performance Art, scenery and costume design and other related artwork. Its development has been dependent on the generosity of others. A large proportion of the holdings come from donations and bequests from enthusiasts and professionals who share the desire to preserve a record of theatre in Britain.

In 1976 the Friends of the Theatre Collection was founded, which has made a significant financial contribution towards the growth of the Collection as well as helping to publicise its existence. In 2002 they celebrated their Silver Anniversary.

Refurbishment in 1998 improved accessibility, study and storage conditions and in 2001 the Theatre Collection was awarded full Registered Museum status by the Museums and Galleries Commission. In 2009 it was awarded full Accredited Museum status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. A major cataloguing programme has computerised information of over 100,000 items. The Theatre Collection has also been involved in Backstage, a collaborative project to provide a theatre gateway on the internet, and the digitisation of images for on-line access.

The Collection stands at the forefront of theatre research through the support of its parent body, the University of Bristol. It is also indebted to the generosity of one of theatre's greatest enthusiasts, Dr Eric Jones-Evans.

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