Archive collections at the Shakespeare Institute Library

The archive collections available at the Shakespeare Institute Library and the collection references are listed below. The collection references can be used to search for the collections on CalmView.

Making our service inclusive

We are committed to making our service inclusive, and respectful to all. We are aware that there is much work to do to make sure that our catalogues and other research tools reflect this commitment. We are working to improve our knowledge and understanding so that we can revise the language used in our catalogues and other finding aids that are already in use, and write for the future in a way that is relevant, helpful, does not make anyone feel excluded or unwelcome, or use prejudicial language. If you have any suggestions or comments, please email

New Shakespeare Company (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)

Collection reference: DSH1

The archive comprises the records of the New Shakespeare Company, Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, London, dating largely from the creation of the Company by David Conville in 1962, with a few items relating to productions given at the Open Air Theatre during the 1930s. Production records include those relating to each summer season in the Park (1962-), the Company's British tours (1964, and most years 1970-) and overseas tours (1964, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1994, 1995). Material includes prompt books, show reports, scrapbooks, reviews, programmes, posters, production photographs, costume and set designs, ground/stage plans, music scores, and production administration files. Company administrative records include papers relating to the founding of the Open Air Theatre, its administration and development, including the construction of the new auditorium in 1975; correspondence of its managing directors, David Conville (1962-1987) and Ian Talbot (1987-); correspondence with sponsors and grant-awarding bodies; staff contracts and details of remuneration; production costs and annual accounts, box office returns and educational packs. A small number of records relating to productions staged by David Conville Productions Ltd are included in the collection.

Renaissance Theatre Company Collection

Collection reference: DSH2

The collection comprises records of the Renaissance Theatre Company, 1987-1992, in addition to a production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Kenneth Branagh Ltd., 1986. The bulk of the collection comprises prompt books for productions, 1986-1992. Additional material includes a sound script for ‘Napoleon – the American Story’, 1989; show reports, programmes and copies of production photographs, 1987-1991.

Renaissance Films plc

Collection reference: DSH3

The collection comprises a small number of scripts and a brochure, relating to the work of Renaissance Films PLC. Scripts are from the films 'Henry V' (released 1989), and 'Peter's Friends' (1992). The brochure also relates to 'Henry V'.

Papers relating to ‘Players of Shakespeare’

Collection reference: DSH4

Working papers for 'Players of Shakespeare: essays in performance by twelve players with the Royal Shakespeare Company', edited by Philip Brockbank (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1985). Manuscript contributions and correspondence with contributors and those asked to contribute.

Manuscript for ‘The Life Everlasting’ by Marie Corelli

Collection reference: DSH5

Autographed manuscript for 'The Life Everlasting', by the novelist known as Marie Corelli. The novel was published in 1911.

Papers of Sydney Race

Collection reference: DSH6

Working papers of Sydney Race, a regular contributor to the periodical 'Notes and Queries', 1923-1958. Papers include a series of notebooks and files containing research notes for articles and correspondence submitted to 'Notes and Queries', relating primarily to John Payne Collier (1789-1883), Shakespearean critic and forger. Papers also include proofs for articles, correspondence and press cuttings.

Alan Keen collection

Collection reference: DSH7

Photostat, press-cuttings, unpublished essays and research notes relating to the annotated copy of Edward Halle's 'The union of two noble and illustrate famelies of Lancastre and Yorke', (1550), collected by Alan Keen, a London bookseller and manuscript dealer. The copy contains over 400 marginal notes believed, by Keen, to be written by Shakespeare and evidence of Shakespeare's residence in Lancashire at the home of Alexander Houghton. Keen published his findings in 'The annotator: the pursuit of an Elizabethan reader of Halle's Chronicle, involving some surmises about the early life of William Shakespeare', (London: Putman, 1954).

Papers of Sir Edmund Kerchever Chambers

Collection reference: DSH8

Working papers for publications by Sir Edmund Kerchever Chambers (1866-1954), English scholar, historian of the English stage and civil servant, including 'The Mediaeval Stage', 1903; 'The Elizabethan Stage', 1923; 'William Shakespeare: a Study of Facts and Problems', 1930; 'Sir Thomas Wyatt and Some Collected Studies', 1933; 'Sir Henry Lee: an Elizabethan Portrait', 1936; 'Shakespearean Gleanings', 1944; 'Sources for a Biography of Shakespeare', 1946. Also includes unpublished notes to a proof copy of 'Richard III', edited by R.B. McKerrow.

Mary Cowden Clarke correspondence

Collection reference: DSH9

Three letters, dated 14 August, 19 September and 2 October 1874, from Mary Cowden Clarke to Matthew Mason, printer and publisher, concerning revisions to be made to 'The Complete Concordance to Shakespeare' (originally published in 1845), and proposals for the publication of its companion volume, 'The Shakespeare Key', by Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke. Also includes six-page manuscript prospectus for 'The Shakespeare Key', which was published in 1879.

John Gielgud correspondence

Collection reference: DSH11

Two autographed letters from Sir John Gielgud to Professor Yoshio Arai. In the first letter, dated 4 November 1969, Gielgud discusses his role as Leontes in Peter Brook's 1950 production of 'The Winter's Tale' at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. In the second letter, dated 27 March 1991, he discusses his recording of Macbeth's 'Tomorrow' speech (26 March 1991), which was used for a Kyogen dance event devised by Professor Arai and performed at the Fifth World Shakespeare Congress, Tokyo, 1991. The letter is accompanied by a cassette recording of the speech. Also includes copy of a photograph of Gielgud with Peter Greenaway, 1991.

Nigel Hawthorne’s script for ‘King Lear’, 1999-2000

Collection reference: DSH12

Sir Nigel Hawthorne's playscript for 'King Lear', directed by Yukio Ninagawa and performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1999-2000. Also performed in Tokyo and at the Barbican Centre, London, October/November 1999.

Rough index to words and phrases found in John Lyly’s ‘Euphues’

Collection reference: DSH14

Abbreviated copy of a rough index to the words, phrases, proverbs, personages, animals, birds, gems etc. mentioned in John Lyly's 'Euphues', compiled by Charles Crawford.

Berliner Ensemble ‘Coriolanus’

Collection reference: DSH16

'Coriolanus', von William Shakespeare in der Bearbeitung von Bertolt Brecht, 1964. Buhnenfassung des Berliner Ensemble. Musik: Paul Dellau. Regie: Manfred Wekwerth / Joachim Tenscher. Ausstattung: Karl v. Appen. Premiere: 24 September 1964.

Two volumes on Bertolt Brecht's adaptation of 'Coriolanus', including the text of the Brecht-Shakespeare play and a volume containing 500-600 captioned photographs of the play in performance, staged by the Berliner Ensemble in 1964.

Photographs of theatrical productions staged by drama students in China

Collection reference: DSH17

Albums of photographs from productions presented by students of the Shakespeare Study Centre, Central Academy of Drama, Peking [Beijing], including 'Romeo and Juliet', 1965, 'Macbeth', 1980, 'The Tempest', 1982; Canton Drama Troupe, 'Othello,' 1984; Chinese Traditional Opera College; Shanghai Academy of Drama, 'Romeo and Juliet', 1983.

Editorial Commentary notes for the New Penguin Edition of ‘King John’, 1974

Collection reference: DSH18

Index cards containing editorial commentary notes by Robert L. Smallwood for the New Penguin edition of 'King John', (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974).

Papers relating to ‘Shakespeare: the Animated Tales’

Collection reference: DSH19

Papers relating to 'Shakespeare: the Animated Tales', collected by Professor Stanley Wells, Director of the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Literary Adviser on the Academic-Educational Advisory Panel for the project. The 'Animated Tales' series comprised twelve, thirty-minute animated adaptations of Shakespeare plays, co-produced by S4C and Soyuzmulitifilm (Moscow). The papers include cassette recordings of voice tracks, working scripts abridged by Leon Garfield, copies of story boards, correspondence, minutes of project meetings, publicity material, articles and reviews.

Records of the Shakespeare Institute Players

Collection reference: DSH21

Records of theatrical productions by students of the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon. The archive contains prompt books, video recordings, photographs, posters, programmes and reviews, but materials deposited can vary for each production.

Unpublished screenplay collection

Collection reference: DSH22

Artificial collection of unpublished screenplays and shooting scripts for film adaptations of Shakespeare plays. Includes 'West Side Story', 1961 (Dir. Wise & Robbins); 'King Lear', 1971 (Dir: Brook); 'Romeo and Juliet', 1968 (Dir. Zeffirelli); 'As You Like It', 1992 (Dir. Edzard); 'Othello', 1995 (Dir. Parker); 'Romeo and Juliet', 1996 (Dir. Luhrmann); 'Hal' (adaptation of 'Henry IV'), 1998 (Dir. Parks); 'Love's Labour's Lost', 1999 (Dir. Branagh); 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 1999 (Dir. Hoffman).

Terence John Bew Spencer collection

Collection reference: DSH/US58

Papers collected by Professor Terence John Bew Spencer (1915-1978), Professor of English and Director of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, 1961-1978. Includes reviews, copies of his articles and speeches. The papers are supplemented by obituaries and documents relating to Professor Spencer's Memorial Service, 23 May 1978.

Papers of Owen Hood Phillips

Collection reference: DSH/US59

The working papers of Professor Owen Hood Phillips, Barber Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Birmingham, 1946-1974, including manuscript and typescript notes, articles relating to Shakespeare and law, newscuttings and correspondence. Also includes unpublished chapters intended for publication in 'Shakespeare and the Lawyers', 1972, discussing theories that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was not the author of the plays.

Director’s cut of Richard III (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield)

Collections reference: DSH23

Director's cut of 'King Richard III', before rehearsals. Performed at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 13 March - 6 April 2002. Play directed by Michael Grandage. Kenneth Branagh as Richard.

Joy Leslie Gibson collection

Collections reference: DSH24

A small collection of letters from actors received by Joy Leslie Gibson. The collection also includes other associated materials relating to productions and performances of various Shakespeare plays and actors.

Hugh Hunt prompt books

Collection reference: DSH25

A collection of Hugh Hunt's rehearsal copies of published plays which he used as director/producer for productions of plays. These volumes contain stage directions, annotations, alterations, some with diagrams in Hugh Hunt's hand and relate to a production of Marlowe's Dr Faustus and to 16 of his productions of Shakespeare's plays (including Hamlet [1950], Julius Caesar in 1953, King John in 1933, King Lear [1947 or 1952], Love's Labour's Lost in 1970, Macbeth, Merchant of Venice in 1953, The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1951, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing [1947], Othello [1947] and Romeo and Juliet [1952]). 

These rehearsal copies relate to productions Hunt directed between 1933 and 1970 at the New Theatre, Oxford, the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, with the Bristol and London Old Vic and a student performance at the University of Manchester. 

The Shakespeare plays are all in the Temple Shakespeare or New Temple Shakespeare series published by J. M. Dent; the Marlowe play is in the Temple Dramatists series, also published by J. M. Dent.

Jasper Britton collection

Collection reference: DSH26

Collection of scripts used by Jasper Britton for roles at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, London, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon and the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Samuel West collection

Collection reference: DSH27

Collection of scripts and notebooks used by Samuel West performing roles at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon; the Public Theater, New York; the Donmar, London; Chichester Festival Theatre and on BBC Radio 3 and directing productions at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon; the Minerva Theatre, Chichester; the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield; the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield; venues in Palestine; the Menier Chocolate Factory, London and on BBC Radio 3.

Papers of Russell Jackson

Collection reference: DSH28

Scripts and notes used by Russell Jackson in his role as text advisor on theatre productions, radio productions and films, mostly of William Shakespeare's plays and mostly working with the actor and director Kenneth Branagh. 

Includes material relating to productions of 'As You Like It', 'Cymeline', 'Hamlet', 'Henry V', 'King Lear', 'Love's Labour's Lost', 'Macbeth', 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'Othello', 'Richard II', 'Romeo and Juliet', 'The Winter's Tale', and 'Twelfth Night'. 

Also includes material relating to the film productions 'Shakespeare in Love' (1998), 'The Wolfman' (2010), 'Wilde' (1994), and 'All is True' (2018). 

A small number of miscellaneous papers include correspondence relating to Kenneth Branagh's award of Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute in 1993.

Papers of Wendy Beavis

Collection reference: DSH29

Material relating to the actress Wendy Beavis (1932-1994). Comprises extensive sequence of personal correspondence, including letters sent from Beavis whilst touring with the Shakespeareana theatre company [founded by Geoffrey Kendal] in India during 1950s. These letters were addressed to her parents, Mr and Mrs J. [John] R. Beavis, living in Sutton Coldfield. The majority of letters are accompanied with their original envelopes and are numbered 1-164 [some letters, according to this numbering, appear to be missing]. Following number 164, additional letters have been labelled A-S and there is also an small series of miscellaneous letters which have not been included in the numbering system. These miscellaneous letters include newspaper cuttings, loose photographs, receipts and other ephemera. It is unclear whether this numbering was completed by Wendy, her parents or by Carole Hodgson during the course of transcribing some of the letters. The letters provide a snapshot of life in India during the 1950s and of the fellow members of the theatre company as well as detailing Beavis' own personal experiences in India. They also provide details about how Shakespeare was received in India. Other members of the company mentioned in the letters are: Geoffrey Kendal and Laura Liddell and their daughters Jennifer Bragg and Felicity Kendal (known as Foo), Brian Kellet, Conor Farrington, John Day, Utpal Dutt, Anwar Mirza, Frank Wheatley and Nancy Neal. Also mentioned are family members and 'Hasti' who is presumably Eveline Hastilow, Wendy's drama teacher. There are typescript transcripts of some of these letters, 1953-1956, which were compiled by Carole Hodgson and include a brief foreword. 

The collection also includes a number of photographs, including albums of the Shakespeareana Theatre Company trip to India, 1953-1956 as well as family snapshots and formal portrait photographs; miscellaneous papers relating to Beavis' Indian tour including a map of India and Pakistan compiled by her father, based on the letters she sent home and detailing the places where the company toured; a small number of theatre programmes, from the 1950s; some publications collected by, or about, Wendy Beavis, 1949-[late 20th century]; a small number of newspaper cuttings; and a series of papers comprising family papers and ephemera. These include acting certificates and mark sheets; her father's [John Beavis] birth certificate, 1901; her father's school reports and a card issued to him during the Second World War confirming his role in the City of Birmingham voluntary firefighting party, 1941; Wendy Beavis' birth certificate; her school reports; her parents' ration books, 1953-1954; and a small number of obituaries relating to Wendy Beavis and presumably collected by Carole Hodgson.

Papers of the School of Night

Collection reference: DSH30

Material relating to the School of Night comprising DVDs of performances; and promotional literature including fliers, posters programmes and reviews.

Papers of Dame Janet Suzman

Collection reference: DSH31

Comprises material relating to Dame Janet Suzman's career as an actor, director and writer. Includes material relating to her early career at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford in the 1960s and 70s when she played many roles including Katharina in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, Lavinia in ‘Titus Andronicus’ and Cleopatra in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ and the title role in ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1979. Includes theatre programmes, photographs of ‘Titus Andronicus’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ and original ‘Punch’ cartoons showing Janet Suzman in character.

Material relating to the production of ‘Othello’ at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg in 1987 directed by Janet Suzman which was filmed and released on DVD. Items include programmes, scripts, recordings, newspaper reviews, correspondence and published interviews with Janet Suzman and lectures she gave. It includes a collar made by Janet Suzman and worn by John Kani as Othello.

Material relating to ‘Hamlet’ at the Baxter Theatre Centre, Cape Town in 2005, which transferred to Stratford in 2006 as part of the RSC’s Complete Works Festival including programmes, messages from the cast, newspaper reviews and recordings relating to a television documentary ‘Imagine … Being Hamlet’ which featured Vaneshran Arumugam who played Hamlet in Stratford. It contains material relating to the actor Brett Goldin who played Guildenstern and was murdered just before the company travelled to Stratford.

In 2007 Janet Suzman returned to Stratford to play Volumnia in ‘Coriolanus’ which toured to the United States and Spain. The collection includes a script, publicity brochures, programmes and a copy of ‘The Complete Works Yearbook’ published by the RSC.

In 2006 Janet Suzman directed ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ at the Liverpool Playhouse with Jeffery Kissoon and Kim Cattrall in the title roles. The production was revived at Chichester in 2012 where Michael Pennington played Antony. The collection includes scripts, programmes, newspaper reviews and a flyer and copy of the speech given by Janet Suzman at an event at Chichester Cathedral in 2012.

Janet Suzman has published several books, articles and lectures and the archive contains copies of ‘The Tanner Lectures on Human Values’ (1996) containing two essays on ‘Othello’, ‘Acting with Shakespeare: the Comedies’ (1996) by Janet Suzman, ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ (2012) edited by Janet Suzman, ‘The Reader’ (2012) containing an article about the authorship question and ‘Index: the Voice of Free Expression’ (2014) containing an article about South African Theatre. It also contains copies of books owned by Janet Suzman and used in preparation for roles including ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ and other books (in some cases presented by the author) for which she has given interviews or which discuss her work including ‘Macbeth’, William Shakespeare (1980), a Hungarian language copy, ‘Women in Shakespeare’ by Judith Cook (London: Harrap and Co Ltd, 1980), with manuscript dedication to Janet Suzman from the author, ‘Shakespeare’s Women’ by Angela Pitt (Newton Abbot: David and Charles (Publishers) Limited, 1981), with manuscript dedication to Janet Suzman from the author.

It contains letters about Janet Suzman’s honours including giving the toast to Shakespeare at the Shakespeare’s Birthday Lunch in 2006, being an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Birmingham Shakespeare Institute and Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Also a text of the 2006 toast speech.

Read more about the Dame Janet Suzman archives, and see images from the collection

Papers of Sonia Ritter

Collection reference: DSH32

Papers relating to the production of 'Titus Andronicus' at the Royal Shakespeare Company in which Sonia Ritter played Lavinia. Comprises original cartoon, two posters, a t-shirt, and text marked up by Sonia Ritter.

Letters of Marie Corelli

Collection reference: DSH33

Five letters written by Marie Corelli and addressed to Violet Severn at Brantwood [on Coniston Water]. Letters dated 22 December 1906 to 2 May 1910. With four accompanying envelopes.

Papers of Pamela Chandler relating to The Old Vic, 1953-1962

Collection reference: DSH34

Collection of materials relating to The Old Vic, including images taken for the publication 'Shakespeare at The Old Vic' by Mary Clarke, published in 1957. The collection includes a copy of this book as well as numerous photographs of Old Vic productions, negatives of the 1959 production of 'The Tempest', and related correspondence.

Papers of Kath Bradley

Collection reference: DSH35

Research materials relating to productions of 'Sir Thomas More' in performance including material regarding the Globe Playhouse, Los Angeles, production, 1984; DVD, programme and photographs of the Shaw Theatre performance, 1990; and script of the rehearsed reading at Bristol Old Vic Drama School, 2001.

Papers relating to A Shakespeare Music Catalogue

Collection reference: DSH36

Papers relating to A Shakespeare Music Catalogue.

A Shakespeare Music Catalogue (Clarendon Press 1991) consists of five volumes which documents all music - published and unpublished, from Shakespeare's day to the present which is related in any way to Shakespeare's life and work. The music listed includes operas, ballets, overtures, tone-poems, songs and various incidental music (for stage, radio, film and television).

Photographs of the production of 'Measure for Measure'

Collection reference: DSH37

Four photographs, taken by Joe Cocks, depicting images of the 1970 production of 'Measure for Measure' by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Directed by John Barton. Ben Kingsley as Claudio.

Reverse of photographs states 'Joe Cocks Photography, Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon'.

Stratford Scrapbooks: Shakespeare Memorial Theatre

Collection reference: DSH38

Six scrapbooks relating to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Papers relating to Marie Corelli

Collection reference: DSH39

Miscellaneous items relating to the life of Marie Corelli acquired by the Shakespeare Institute. 

Records of the editorial procedures for the New Penguin Shakespeare

Collection reference: DSH40

Correspondence about procedures to be followed in editing the New Penguin Shakespeare.

McKerrow Oxford Shakespeare galley proofs

Collection reference: DSH41

Galley proofs and notes for plays edited by Ronald Brunlees McKerrow.

Papers relating to Marie Corelli and Mason Croft

Collection reference: DSH42 

Miscellaneous items relating to Marie Corelli and her former home, Mason Croft in Stratford-upon-Avon.