University of Bristol Theatre Collection

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The Theatre Collection is an accredited museum and one of the world’s largest archives of British theatre and Live Art.

Founded in 1951 to serve the newly formed Drama Department (the first in any UK university), we are now an internationally renowned research facility open to all.

Our collections cover all aspects of theatre history to the present day and our visitors include everyone from international scholars to family historians.

The Theatre Collection continues to grow and reflect all aspects of theatre and performance.

Venue Type:

Museum, Library, Archive

Opening hours

Mon 12.00-16.45, Tues-Fri 9.30 - 16.45

An appointment is recommended.

Closed Public Holidays & University Closure Days, and occasional other days - please refer to website for details.

Admission charges

Entrance is FREE, although we do welcome donations.

Additional info

Public entrance & ramp at no.21 Park Row with lift to Theatre Collection on First Floor. Toilets on First Floor suitable for use by disabled visitors. Please let us know if you have any special requirements. Access between floors is by lift, with a maximum width to fit a wheelchair of 31 inches (78cm).

The Theatre Collection covers the period 1572 to the 21st century. The collections encompassa wide range of formats including documents, photographs, artwork, artefacts, costumes, audio-visual and digital media.

Collection details

Social History, Photography, Personalities, Performing Arts, Music, Literature, Fine Art, Design, Costume and Textiles, Archives, Film and Media

Key artists and exhibits

  • Actors (e.g. Stephanie Cole, Jack Shepherd)
  • Actor-Managers (e.g. Henry Irving, Herbert Beerbohm Tree)
  • Designers (e.g. Alan Tagg, Julia Trevelyan Oman)
  • Historians/Scholars (e.g. Kathleen barker, Richard Southern, Glynne Wickham)
  • Photographers (e.g. John Vickers, Derek Balmer)
  • Theatre Companies (e.g. London Old Vic, Bristol Old Vic, Welfare State International)
  • Writers (e.g. Arnold Ridley, Herbert Farjeon)
  • Plus critics, producers, directors, theatre-goers, collectors, festivals and the Bristol Drama Department Archives, along with a vast collection of programmes and other printed material.
  • In addition, our key collections include:
  • Raymond Mander & Joe Mitchenson Theatre Collection (containing more than half a million items)
  • Live Art Archives (including the National Review of Live Art and Franko B)
  • Women's Theatre Collection (documenting women's contribution to theatre)

University of Bristol Theatre Collection
Cantocks Close
City of Bristol




0117 331 5086

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.