The British Library is proud to permanently archive the video productions of Digital Theatre. This will ensure long term preservation of the master videos and will mean that the films can be consulted by researchers in the Library’s Reading Rooms, as part of the unique theatre collections, which cover audiovisual, printed and manuscript material.
The audio collection includes many recordings of live performances at the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre, and by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and London. Material is drawn from commercial releases, broadcasts, the BBC sound archives and the Library's own live recording programme.
This also includes filmed performances of fringe theatre and live art at London venues such as Battersea Arts Centre and the Chelsea Theatre. In addition, a number of recordings have been donated by performers and video makers. Together they form one of the country's largest resources for the study of contemporary creative practice in British theatre.
At the heart of the Library’s theatrical manuscripts collection are the Lord Chamberlain’s Plays: scripts of all the plays submitted for licence to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office from 1824 to 1968, when formal stage censorship was ended by the Theatres Act.
There is also a wide array of theatrical archives from the nineteenth century to the present day. These range from a prompt book for Sir Henry Irving’s first great London success, to the archives of Olivier, Gielgud, and Richardson, and papers of significant twentieth-century playwrights, directors, and critics such as Sir Terence Rattigan, Kenneth Tynan and Harold Pinter.
The printed collections include a copy of nearly every play published in the UK, as well as journal articles, critical works, press reviews, and translations.
Anyone can use the Reading Rooms to research the collections; you just need to get a free Reader Pass. To find out more, visit the Library’s website www.bl.uk/dramasound.
The Actors’ Guild is proud to support Digital Theatre. The ability to have access to beautifully filmed productions, by some of the UK’s best loved theatre companies, long after the shows have closed is fantastic – both as an educational resource and an archive for theatre lovers and theatre makers.
Driven by the community it serves, The Actors’ Guild is an independent not-for-profit organisation. Actor built and actor led, they offer industry-leading workshops, professional development, bursaries and support events such as their Write Bites scheme.
Rather like an actor, The Actors' Guild is nomadic and their community uses a variety of specialised spaces around the UK. They run a hub at Spotlight throughout the week, offering a focus for their London operation in the heart of the West End – in a building at the very centre of the UK casting scene.
Supported by Equity, The Actors' Guild are also developing their programme of workshops in Manchester and run specialist skills-based workshops around the UK.
The Actors' Guild offers both a free and paid membership which offers many benefits, including hundreds of pounds worth of industry discounts for actors. To find out more, visit The Actors’ Guild's website www.actorsguild.co.uk.