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Roy Waters hidden theatre archive opens to public

Posted on 10/10/2012
A print from the Roy Waters theatre collection

The extensive Roy Waters theatre collection will open to the public for the first time at Royal Holloway, University of London, where people can come and view the original material during two fascinating workshops.  

Visitors will be able to come to the College’s archives and see a wide range of items relating to the history of the stage and famous actors and dramatists, including Oscar Wilde.

Roy, an English teacher, had close links with Royal Holloway’s Drama Department and his diverse collection, which he spent the last 40 years of his life building, was left to the Founder’s Library as a bequest from his estate when he died aged 79 in May, 2010.

Royal Holloway will open up its Archives Reading Room between 2pm and 3pm on Monday, October 15, and the Windsor Seminar Room between 4pm and 5pm on Tuesday, October 16, for the public to take part in the two hands-on events.

Highlights of the collection include letters from Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens, a Samuel de Wilde painting of John Philip Kemble as Falstaff, and nearly 400 pieces of sheet music, including songs performed by the actress, singer and theatre manager, Madame Vestris.

Places are limited and people are advised to confirm their attendance as soon as possible by calling 01784 443814, or visit the Roy Waters theatre collection webpage.

The workshop on Monday, October 15, will include guidance on undertaking archival research using examples from Roy’s collection.

Those attending on Tuesday, October 16, will have the opportunity for hands on engagement, with the variety of items available to include letters, playbills, newspapers, prints and photographs.

This will be followed by an evening reception between 6pm and 9pm which will include a selection of short presentations to enrich understanding of the collection, with speakers including Dr Gilli Bush-Bailey, Director of Theatre Development, at Royal Holloway.

She said: “This will be the first event of its kind held at Royal Holloway and will give the public unprecedented access to Roy’s unique collection.

“The material amassed over the course of 40 years provides a fascinating insight into theatrical entertainment through the interests of a private collector.

“Roy’s personal papers also provide an insight into the man behind the ephemera.”

David Robinson, a film critic, author, and friend of Roy, will also relate the origins and development of the theatre enthusiast’s extensive library.



 
 
 

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