Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS808
TitleAlbum of presscuttings, photographs and theatre programmes
Extent1 volume
Datemid 19th cent-1924
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DescriptionThe contents of the majority of this album comprise newspaper cuttings, programmes and photographs of theatre productions. Many of the programmes are for productions performed at the Theatre Royal, Worcester; the Theatre Royal, Birmingham; and the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham from the 1880s and 1890s. There are also some London theatre programmes and programmes for amateur productions at Salters Hall, Droitwich; and by the British Empire Shakespeare Society in the early years of the 20th century. The photographs appear to relate to both indoor and outdoor amateur dramatic performances. The album also includes signatures of performers, mainly from the 1920s, at a small number of amateur productions.

The newspaper cuttings too largely relate to the theatre but there are a small number of unrelated and miscellaneous cuttings, especially at the beginning of the volume. There are a number of loose items at the rear of the volume including photographs and sketches largely relating to theatres and theatrical productions. Items in the volume have been kept in rough chronological order, although there are the occasional exceptions to this. There is an index at the front of the volume which covers the letters E-Z, the index pages for A-D are missing.

A number of well known actors and actresses of the time are listed in a number of the playbills in this volume. These include the siblings Ellen (1847-1928), Marion (1853-1930) and Fred Terry (1863-1933); Ellen's son, [Edward] Gordon Craig (1872-1966); Henry Irving (1838-1905), Charles H. Hawtree (1858-1923), George Alexander (1858-1918), Nutcombe Gould (1849-1899), Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917), Lily Hanbury (1874-1908) and [William] Lewis Waller (1860-1915) amongst others. The Irish novelist Bram Stoker (1847-1912), in his role as Henry Irving's personal assistant, is listed as acting manager of the 'Nance Oldfield' production which was performed at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in September 1891.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation at Special Collections.
Access StatusOpen
Physical DescriptionThis album has lost its covers and some of the index pages at the front of the volume
Administrative HistoryThe creator of this album is unknown. There is a letter in the album to the actor W. C. Blakeway, a member of British Empire Shakespeare Society and the Victoria Institute (Worcester) Literature and Language Circles, and a number of references to him in the theatre programmes. It is possible that the volume could have been compiled by him.
Custodial HistoryThe majority of playbills and programmes in this album were formerly numbered 6483-6536 as part of an artificial collection called the Theatre Collection, although some programmes had not been given a number and the remainder of the contents, such as newspaper cuttings and photographs, were not indexed. This album has been identified as a separate acquisition from the main Theatre Collection (MS38) and and has now been catalogued as a discrete item. The provenance of this album is unknown.
AcquisitionSource and date of acquisition is unknown
Archival NotePapers initially described in May 2011. Additional work completed by Mark Eccleston, October 2011
Related MaterialThe Special Collections Department holds other personal and artificial collections of theatre playbills, programmes, newscuttings and associated materials. These smaller collections, which were formerly incorporated into the Theatre Collection, include the following:

Theatre Collection, MS38;
Heron-Allen album of playbills, MS107;
Colyer-Fergusson albums, MS108;
The Williams Theatre collection, MS109;
Volume of playbills, MS110;
Album of programmes, MS111;
Louis Cohen Collection, MS112;
The Kemp album, MS113;
Volume of Shakespearian souvenirs and programmes, MS114;
Album of presscuttings, photographs and theatre programmes, MS808;
Theatre programmes, MS897;
Birmingham Repertory Theatre programmes, MS934,
Theatre programmes collected by Andrew Leigh, MS937;
Collection of miscellaneous theatre programmes, playbills, and related items, MS939;
Regional theatre programmes: artificial collection, MS991;
Theatre programmes and ephemera, MS1016;
Theatre programmes, MS1035;
Scrapbook for the 1912 production of 'Twelfth Night', MS1058;
Ephemera relating to Victoria Wood, MS1061;
Theatre programme of 1912 production of 'Twelfth Night', MS1062.


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