The NIDA Archives provides a fascinating insight into the creative process and the imagination of many of Australia's performing artists. Making this material accessible will lift the lid on nearly 50 years of creative activity during which many Australians have emerged as key players on the international stage and screen.
NIDA's records begin in 1957 although some personal papers held by the Archives may predate this era. They include an extensive archive relating to the establishment of NIDA, its play productions and courses, correspondence, prompt copies, photographs, scrapbooks and press cuttings, posters and programmes, video and sound recordings and design plans.
The collection includes papers relating to NIDA's distinguished directors, teachers and graduates who have made significant contribution to the creative life of Australia and have profoundly influenced modern Australian theatre - including Robert Quentin, Tom Brown, Rex Cramphorn, John Clark and Keith Bain.
An Oral History Project enhanced the collection by recording and sharing the memories and working methods of many practitioners and teachers associated with NIDA and its outreach activities. Information about these oral histories is available from the Rodney Seaborn Library, NIDA.
In addition to NIDA's own records, the collection includes photographs, costumes, props, prompt copies, designs, memorabilia and correspondence of the Old Tote Theatre Company (1963 to 1978) and Jane Street Theatre (1966 to 1982).
The Old Tote Theatre Company, precursor to the Sydney Theatre Company, began in the tin shed theatre on the campus of University of NSW. During its 15 years, many distinguished and much loved actors such as Ruth Cracknell, Ron Haddrick, Neil Fitzpatrick, John Bell, Dinah Shearing, Robyn Nevin and Jennifer Hagan appeared in more than 90 memorable productions of the classics and contemporary plays from the international repertoire.
Jane Street Theatre, where Michael Boddy and Bob Ellis's The Legend of King O'Malley (1970) and David Williamson's Don's Party (Sydney premiere 1972) changed the face of Australian theatre in the 1970s, was an experimental theatre space and creative stimulus that gave voice to Australian playwrights and a performance platform for young Australian actors (including Kate Fitzpatrick, Garry McDonald, Sandy Gore, Jane Harders) who emerged from NIDA with energy and the confidence to attract audiences eager to hear Australian stories on stage.
ACCESS TO THE NIDA ARCHIVES
Access is by appointment only, after emailing, writing or telephoning Archives staff to advise them of your area of research. In this way, researchers can be assured, before visiting, that the collection contains material that will be of interest to them.
Please note: The Archives is a research collection only and as such has a non-lending policy. Visitors will be able to view and read materials, but will not be able to borrow. A copying service is available, but due to restrictions under the Copyright Act, some material may be excluded.
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052
Unit 2 Century Estate
476-492 Gardeners Road
Alexandria NSW 2052
For further information contact:
Archives Manager | 02 8372 0202 (Mon – Thurs, 1 – 5pm, Fri 8.30 – 5pm) or 02 9697 7595 (Mon to Thurs, 8.30 – 12.30pm)
The NIDA Archives would like to acknowledge the generosity and support of:
Lady Nancy Fairfax OBE
Frederick J Gibson
Peter & Sharon Ivany
Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust (Eldon and Anne Foote Trust)
Margaret Augusta Farrell Trust
Dr Rodney Seaborn AO OBE
Isaac & Susan Wakil
The Wolanski Foundation
Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA)