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Collections A-Z

The A-Z index provides summary details of named print and archival collections. Names in the index are inclusive of people, organisations and subjects, arranged by first name.

Special Collections holds many individual and smaller groupings of manuscripts. These are represented in the A-Z within artificial collections, based on types of material e.g. deeds, scrapbooks.

Entries in the index link to full catalogue records with digitised images where these exist. The A-Z continues to grow as new catalogue descriptions are created.

You searched Performance and Cultural Industries

African Theatre manuscripts and papers assembled by Martin Banham

Martin Banham, formerly Professor of Theatre and Drama Studies at the University of Leeds, taught at University College, Ibadan, Nigeria from 1956 to 1966. Maintaining an interest in the theatre and performance culture of Africa, he has published works including 'African Theatre Today' (London, 1976), 'The Cambridge Guide to African and Caribbean Theatre' (Cambridge 1994, 2004), and 'A History of Theatre in Africa' (Cambridge, 2005).

Andy Lipman Collection

Andy Lipman the television producer and writer was born on 27 January 1952. Originally trained as a lawyer, he left the legal world behind to work in television. With Philip Timmins, Lipman was a project coordinator of the low-budget video 'Framed Youth' which consisted of tales of coming-out. The video won the Grierson Award for best documentary in 1984. Lipman submitted the proposal that became 'The Media Show' on Channel 4 and became its producer. From 1990-1992 Lipman edited and produced four series of the Channel 4 programme 'For Love or Money' on the art and antiques' market. He also produced 'World in Action' in 1993. He died on 3 March 1997.

Arnold Wesker, autograph typescript and manuscript drafts of contribution to a composite play entitled 'Consequences', with related correspondence between him and Simon Reade.

Arnold Wesker, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the playwright and director, a past President of the International Playwrights' Committee, was born on 24 May 1932 in Stepney, London, to Jewish parents. For fuller details of his life and achievements see 'Who's who'.

Alec Baron, archive compiled by Baron relating to theatrical life in Leeds from the late 1920s to the 1950s, principally Leeds Unity Theatre, supplemented by material relating to Leeds Film Theatre and world cinema.

Alec Baron was a prominent figure in amateur and professional theatre and film in Leeds from the 1930s to 1980s. He was born on 29 November 1913, and as a schoolboy he developed a keen interest in cinema and theatre. He was one of the founders of the Leeds Film Group, the first film society in England outside London. He later formed the Leeds Film Institute Society (later Leeds Film Society) with a group of film enthusiasts, and acted as the secretary of the Society during many seasons. After leaving school, Baron started his own theatre company called the Astra. He also directed the annual University Students Rag Show at many occasions. In the late thirties Baron discovered left movement drama in Leeds, and enthusiastically started to write political revue. Consequently, with a group of people he formed a Unity Theatre in Leeds, on the model of the one already in London. The Unity Theatre created and performed plays dealing with the political situation of the time with a clear anti-fascist message. When Baron was called up to the army, Kate Plenty took over from him as the director. Baron and Plenty wrote a successful full-length play, "Comrade enemy", which ran for thirteen weeks at Unity in 1942. In the same year the Unity Theatre was transferred to the Civic Theatre. As of Jewish background Baron also had an interest in Jewish theatre and directed plays with Jewish themes. Baron was also the first administrator of the Leeds Playhouse, which he left in 1972 to pursue writing. He died on 27 October 1991.

Algernon Charles Swinburne manuscripts

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), the poet, playwright, novelist, and essayist. For fuller details of his life and achievements see the Dictionary of National Biography.


Barry Tebb Archive

Barry Tebb (b.1942) is a poet and publisher from Leeds. He founded Sixties Press in 1993. He edited The Sixties Press Anthology of Gregory Fellows Poetry.


David Hare, typescript first draft of screenplay for the film 'Wetherby', with related materials.

David Hare, the English playwright and theatre and film director, was born in St Leonards, Sussex on 5 June 1947, and educated at Lancing College, Sussex, and Jesus College, Cambridge. He served as literary manager and resident dramatist at several theatres before beginning to write for the National Theatre in 1975. In 1982 he founded a film company, Greenpoint Films. As well as numerous stage plays he has written television plays and screenplays, of which 'Wetherby' (1985) is one.

Dora Sigerson Shorter, a play, a story and a volume of press notices about her.

Dora Sigerson Shorter (Mrs Clement Shorter), the poet and journalist. For fuller details of her life and achievements see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


Elizabeth North Archive

Elizabeth North read English and Philosophy as a mature student at Leeds University. She wrote a number of radio plays, produced by the BBC, and published eight novels.


Franklin Gollings correspondence and papers

Franklin Gollings was born in Llandudno. His association with the film industry began in the 1930s as a cinema manager. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Marines and also assisted in the production of a number of public information films. After resigning his commission in 1948, he worked in film, television and theatre.

Foco Novo Theatre Collection

Foco Novo was a pioneering and innovative fringe theatre company in the 1970s and 1980s. Funded by the Arts Council, it was founded in 1972 by director Roland Rees, writer Bernard Pomerance and administrator David Aukin, who also co-founded the Joint Stock Theatre Company in 1974. Around this core, actors were cast at Equity rates, for each new production. Its objective was to encourage new writing and new work in the theatre, employing writers in residence such as Tunde Ikoli and accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

The name Foco Novo, literally meaning new focus, classed itself as an alternative British theatre company, who saw a way forward as being a form of theatre that achieved a more significant integration of aesthetics and political commitment. It worked in both London and the English Regions, in traditional theatres and as well as in community centres, art centres, schools and colleges.

Its first play was the eponymous 'Foco Novo', looking at American involvement in South America. The first performances were played in a garage and on a street in Chalk Field. This was followed by Bertolt Brecht’s 'Drums in the Night' at the 1973 Edinburgh Festival followed by Pomerance’s 'Someone Else is Still Someone', Fassbinder’s 'Cock Artist', 'Arthur Horner' by Phil Woods and 'Death of a Black Man' by Alfred Fagon. In 1976/77 they toured Brecht’s 'A Man’s A Man' as well as Jon Chadwick and John Hoyland’s 'The Nine Days' and 'Saltley Gates'. In the summer of 1976 they commissioned Adrian Mitchell to write 'A Seventh Man' from the book by John Berger, which toured throughout England, Wales and the Netherlands.

In Spring 1977, Chadwick and Hoyland were again commissioned to create 'Tighten Your Belts', followed in late 1977 by Pomerance’s 'The Elephant Man'. 'Withdrawal Symptoms' followed in early 1978, at the ICA, and then 'On the Out' by Tunde Ikoli at the Bush Theatre, London. From November 1978, 'The Free Fall' by Colin Mortimer was toured and played at the ICA. This was followed by Mustapha Matura’s 'Independence' in early 1979.

Foco Novo’s policy was to encourage and nurture new playwrights, for example C. P. Taylor, Howard Brenton and Tunde Ikole, to name a few. Foco Novo thrived during the early 1970s, seeing enormous success with Pomerance’s original version of 'The Elephant Man', commissioned and first performed in 1977, touring the UK before the play was produced with enormous success in New York.

However, following the general election of 1979, changes to Arts Council funding policy meant that theatre companies where obliged to find half their income from non-subsidy sources. This had a devastating effect on Foco Novo, which had received revenue funding from the Council for some time, since, as Roland Rees himself stated, it would not conform to the new priorities. As a consequence of these changes, the company was wound up in 1988.

For more information, see Margaret Eddershaw 'Performing Brecht', 1996, and D. Keith Peacock 'Thatchers Theatre: British theatre and drama in the eighties', 1999.


History of Women in British Film and Television Project Interviews


Isabella Augusta Gregory, original autograph manuscript of 'The golden apple', with related correspondence with Lord Brotherton.

Isabella Augusta Gregory, Lady Gregory (1852-1932), the Irish playwright and poet. For a fuller account of her life and achievements see the Dictionary of National Biography.


June Cashman costume design books and drawings

June Harris was born in Batley in the mid-1930s. She married Patrick J. Cashman in October 1955. June worked for Yorkshire Television as a costume designer and maker. The Royal Television Society presented June with an award for costume design for the YTV production of 'A Day in Summer' in 1988. Also a talented actress, June performed with the Dewsbury Art Group. She lived in Knaresborough. In February 2018 June died in her mid-eighties.

Joseph Conrad, correspondence of, or relating to, and materials concerning the production of a dramatised version of his 'The secret agent'

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924), the novelist. For a fuller account of his life and achievements see the Dictionary of National Biography.

John Stanley Purvis Collection

John Stanley Purvis, 1890-1968, was born in Bridlington. He was educated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge (B.A. 1912, M.A. 1918, B.D. 1943, D.D. 1948) and was ordained in 1933. After serving in a number of Yorkshire parishes, he became canon and prebendary at York Minster in 1956, and from 1956 to 1963 was the first director of the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research in York. He wrote or edited a number of historical works, mainly with Yorkshire connections, including a modern English version of the York Cycle of mystery plays, first produced at York in 1951, and an edition of the complete text in 1957.

John Drinkwater, literary papers with related material

John Drinkwater (1882-1937), the poet, biographer, dramatist and theatre manager, was born in Leytonstone, London. He had a distinguished theatrical career, founding and becoming the manager of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1913. His first verse-play was 'Copetua' (1913), which was followed in 1918 by his more successful 'Abraham Lincoln'. Drinkwater produced numerous popular biographies and autobiographies and wrote the poetry for many musical pieces and special events. His 'Collected poems' were published in 1923, and his 'Collected plays' in 1925.

John Hodgson Archive

John Hodgson was Head of the Faculty of Performing Arts at Bretton Hall, University of Leeds. Bretton Hall was a teacher training college set in the Yorkshire countryside just outside Wakefield. The grounds are now the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Hodgson taught and studied the work of Rudolf Laban for more than 25 years. He died in 1997.


Louis Tiercelin manuscripts

Louis Tiercelin was a Breton writer and dramatist.

Leeds Playhouse Archive

Following a campaign begun in 1964, the Leeds Playhouse opened in 1970 on a site loaned to the Leeds Theatre Trust by the University of Leeds for a ten year period. The conditions of the loan were that the Trust built a theatre in such a way that it could be removed at the end of the ten year period, and converted to a sports hall. Ultimately the theatre remained at the University site until 1990, when the Company moved to Quarry Hill. The Playhouse changed its name to West Yorkshire Playhouse. The Quarry Hill site had first been earmarked by Leeds City Council for the permanent theatre in 1984. The first sod was dug by Sir Donald Sinden in November 1987. The foundation stone was laid by Dame Judi Dench in March 1989 and the building topped by Albert Finney in September 1989. The West Yorkshire Playhouse was officially opened by Dame Diana Rigg on 8 March 1990. The organisation stages a varied programme of dramatic and dance productions and also designs creative engagement workshops and events. In June 2018 the organisation announced that it was reverting to its previous name of the Leeds Playhouse. The building at Quarry Hill was renovated over 18 months. Leeds Playhouse continued to stage productions in a pop-up venue at Quarry Hill and other venues in and around Leeds during the refurbishment.

Leeds Playhouse re-opened in its newly refurbished building in October 2019.


Melvyn Bragg Archive

Writer, broadcaster and parliamentarian, the Rt Hon Lord Melvyn Bragg was born in Wigton in Cumbria in 1939. After joining the BBC as a general trainee in 1962, Bragg went on to become a pre-eminent figure in arts broadcasting in Britain from the late 1960s on, editing, producing and presenting a wealth of pioneering, award-winning television and radio programmes across the cultural spectrum. Alongside his work in broadcasting, Melvyn Bragg has sustained a parallel career as a writer. He is the author of several screenplays, many works of non-fiction and more than a dozen novels. More detailed biographies can be found on the University of Leeds website at: and

Michael Etherton Collection

Michael Etherton worked in universities and colleges in Africa, including as a lecturer in English at the University of Ibadan in Zambia. He has held roles with international NGOs in Asia and Africa. Etherton has been a trainer in child rights and a consultant for international agencies working with the elderly. From 2004-2009 he was involved in emergency relief and reconstruction projects for the elderly in Sri Lanka, India and Kenya. He now lives in Ireland.

Major Road Theatre Collection


Novello-Cowden Clarke

Northern Ballet

Northern Ballet was formerly known as Northern Dance Theatre (1969-1976) and Northern Ballet Theatre (1976-2010). Northern Ballet was established in Manchester in March 1969 and since then has grown from humble beginnings to become a national and international leader in dance and live theatre and facilitator of education and community projects. The Company takes inspiration from an eclectic mix of classical dance, theatre, and literature. It is renowned for creating original full-length narrative ballets and new interpretations of popular classical ballets designed to appeal to as many people as possible.

Northern Ballet is a touring Company, performing across the UK and on occasion internationally. Under the leadership of the fifth Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, the Company moved to a new purpose-built site in central Leeds in 2010, and since then, has also been providing world class dance facilities for the local community and a home for the Academy of Northern Ballet, a leading centre of excellence for dance in the North of England. The collection comprises institutional records and personal papers, telling the story of Northern Ballet from foundation in 1969 to 2021, a period of five Artistic Directors and four locations in Manchester (1969-1990), Halifax (1990-1996) and Leeds (1996-).

Norah Smallwood, correspondence with some related material

Norah Evelyn Smallwood, the publisher, was born on 30 December 1909 in Little Kingshill, Buckinghamshire and died on 11 October 1984 in Westminster Hospital, London. She was associated with Chatto & Windus from 1936 until her retirement in 1982. In 1973 she was awarded the OBE, and in 1981 she received an honorary D.Litt. from Leeds University. For fuller details of her life and achievements see the 'Dictionary of National Biography'.


Opera North programmes and photographs, collected by Professor Rushton

Professor Rushton is Professor Emeritus in the School of Music at the University of Leeds.

Opera North Collection

Opera North is England's national opera company in the North and one of Europe's leading arts organisations. Based at Leeds Grand Theatre and it regularly performs in Salford, Newcastle, Belfast and Nottingham. The company also tours around Europe to cities which include Prague and Barcelona. Its orchestra, the Orchestra of Opera North, frequently performs and records independently.

Opera North was founded in 1977 as English National Opera North (ENO North). The company was established in response to a demand for more opera productions in English provincial cities. An offshoot of English National Opera, it was set up in Leeds.

ENO North’s first performance was Saint-Saëns' 'Samson and Delilah' on 15 November 1978. David Lloyd-Jones was the founding Music Director from 1978-1991. From the beginning the company toured in England and Wales including seasons in London. In 1981 it adopted the name Opera North and cut its official links with English National Opera.

The company stages over 220 performances annually. Its performances over the years have encompassed world premieres, for example, 'Rebecca' by Wilfred Josephs (1983) and 'Baa, baa, black sheep' by Michael Berkeley (1993). It champions lesser known operas which are rarely seen in the United Kingdom including ‘King Priam’ by Michael Tippett (1991) and ‘La voix humaine’ by Poulenc (2006). Since 1989 the company has also performed musical theatre works such as 'Love Life' by Kurt Weill (1996) and 'Carousel' by Rodgers and Hammerstein (2012).


Peter Symes Archive

Peter Symes has had a long career in documentary films. He began as a film editor at the BBC, working on many well-known documentary series such as the award winning “Hospital” and “Strangeways”, before moving on to direct many series and single films for both BBC channels.

His documentary series, “Nurses” (1985) influenced “Casualty”, the well known primetime BBC1 series; “Byline”, a BBC1 platform for opinionated individuals ran for a very successful four years; and his many other series - “Loving Memory”, “Words on Film”, “Enterprise Culture”, “Men With Splendid Hearts” to name a few, have consistently won awards and achieved critical and public acclaim.

As a director, his credits include “The Blasphemers’ Banquet” (a defence of Salman Rushdie that was nominated for the 1989 Prix Italia and was screened on BBC1) and “Black Daisies for the Bride” (a film poem about Alzheimer’s disease for BBC2, awarded the 1994 Prix Italia) both made with the poet Tony Harrison. His work with Tony and many other poets in the documentary form has gained international recognition and awards. In addition to this television work, he has published commentaries on verse in film in “Tony Harrison, a critical anthology” (Bloodaxe 1991) and in “The Shadow of Hiroshima and other film/poems” by Tony Harrison (Faber and Faber, 1995). “Tony Harrison, Collected Film Poems”, a new complete edition of the film/poem scripts with an introduction from Peter outlining the techniques used, was published by Faber in 2007.

While at the BBC he was the commissioning editor for the BBC2 documentary series “Picture This” which was instrumental in introducing large numbers of new and talented directors into the documentary field. The series gained a Royal Television Society award for Network Newcomer in 1996 and was short-listed for the best UK documentary series in 1997. There were six series, with 55 films in total.

In 2001 he joined the Bristol company, Available Light, where he worked both as a director and executive producer, including a 3 part series with Ray Gosling, one of which won a Grierson award, and the much acclaimed 2009 BBC4 series “Mud, Sweat and Tractors”.

He has worked as a documentary tutor with various organisations, including StoryDoc (Athens), Ex Oriente (Prague), the Scottish Documentary Institute, Crossing Borders (Malaysia), DocWok (India) and in Tbilisi, Georgia. From 2005-2009 he was the Head of the Documentary Campus Masterschool based in Germany, concentrating on international co-production and mentoring long single documentaries.

In 1990 he was responsible for forming a committee to set up the hugely successful Sheffield International Documentary Festival, becoming its first Chairperson when it launched in 1994. From 2002 to 2010 he was a trustee of the Grierson Trust, the charity set up to commemorate John Grierson, the founder of documentary in the UK. In 2000 he received the RTS Cyril Bennett Award for services to television.

Peter Lichtenfels Archive

Peter Lichtenfels was born in Germany in 1949, but from early childhood lived in English- or French-speaking countries. He was educated in Quebec and Ontario, where he obtained a degree in drama from Queen's University, Kingston. The major part of his professional theatrical career has taken place in Britain. From 1975 to 1979 he was a trainee and then associate director at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and was its Artistic Director from 1981 to 1985. From 1986 to 1990 he was Artistic Director of the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester.

Photographs of Leeds Playhouse / West Yorkshire Playhouse productions

Phoenix Dance Theatre Collection

Phoenix Dance Company was formed in 1981 by David Hamilton (Artistic Director), Donald Edwards and Vilmore James, three young men who had their enthusiasm for dance sparked by the tuition they received at Harehills Middle School, particularly from teachers John Auty at Intake High School and Nadine Senior who went on to found the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Initially, the three members of Phoenix performed work created within the company, mainly in educational settings, however their fresh approach to contemporary dance won them support amongst audiences and critics and they quickly built a following beyond their home city. In 1987, Neville Campbell joined Phoenix as Artistic Director. This appointment marked a major expansion of the company and its repertoire as under Campbell’s direction, the company employed female dancers for the first time and increased to a company of ten. In the same year Phoenix moved out of Chapeltown and established a permanent base at Yorkshire Dance in Leeds city centre.

Margaret Morris took over as Artistic Director in 1991 and under her the company began to expand its overseas touring. Following Margaret Morris, Thea Nerissa Barnes became Artistic Director in 1997 and under her leadership the company set about preserving its heritage by establishing the company’s first archive. Darshan Singh Bhuller took over as Artistic Director in 2002 and immediately began reshaping, beginning with rebranding the company Phoenix Dance Theatre. Under his direction the company moved into larger scale venues and refocused itself as a multi-cultural company. He commissioned eight new works from established and young choreographers, sourced two existing pieces for company revivals and personally choreographed three new pieces, as well as restaging two of his previous works, including the full-length Planted Seeds.

Sharon Watson was appointed as Artistic Director in May 2009. Under her Phoenix has re- introduced diverse mixed programmes of work by established and up and coming choreographers, including classic pieces from the company’s extensive repertoire, and the company has refocused its ambitions, aiming to be the leading middle scale dance company of the UK. In October 2010 Phoenix moved into purpose-built new premises in the Quarry Hill area of Leeds alongside Northern Ballet. With the company having celebrated over 35 years of outstanding dance, the world class facilities of this new home give Phoenix Dance Theatre the platform to continue producing work of the highest quality in the future.

Papers of SCYPT (Standing Conference of Young People's Theatre)

The Standing Conference on Young People's Theatre (SCYPT) was an organisation established in 1974 to give Young People’s Theatre (YPT) and Theatre in Education (TIE) companies a national identity to help with the development and expansion of their work. The organisation aimed to keep member companies in communication with each other and to promote their productions and educational output. Companies joined together under the SCYPT umbrella to improve artistic standards in YPT and TIE. This included the devising, writing, designing, directing and performing of work for children and young people. SCYPT represented the companies’ interests nationally and encouraged initiatives to increase their status and support in the United Kingdom. Liaison with central and local government and other organisations, especially those concerned with the growth of drama and theatre for young people was part of its remit. SCYPT also aimed to promote and increase children and young people's interest in, and involvement with, theatre and the dramatic arts. Full membership of the organisation was open to professional theatre and TIE companies whose work was for children and young people. Other membership categories were available. SCYPT organised two conferences for members annually and published a journal. The organisation was disbanded in 1997.

Papers of Dame Fanny Waterman

Dame Fanny was born on 22 March 1920 in Leeds. Her parents were Myer Waterman (formerly Wasserman) and Mary (née Behrmann). Dame Fanny was a piano teacher and the founder of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition. For many years she was its Chairman and Artistic Director for many years. Dame Fanny won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music and was tutored by Cyril Smith. In 1944 she married a doctor, Geoffrey de Keyser. After the birth of her first son in 1950 Dame Fanny gave up her concert career and became a well-known piano teacher in the Leeds area.

With Marion, Countess of Harewood, and Roslyn Lyons she established the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition in 1961. It is recognised as one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world, and previous winners have gone on to become world-famous concert pianists. Her services to Leeds were recognised when she was awarded the Freedom of the City of Leeds in 2006.

Dame Fanny has served on the juries of international piano competitions throughout the world. She has published several books about teaching, and learning to play, the piano. A passionate advocate of excellence in piano playing, Dame Fanny has contributed to articles in the press and given numerous speeches and interviews on the subject. In 2010 she appeared on 'Desert Island Discs'.

Dame Fanny has been awarded the OBE, CBE and DBE, and a ‘woman of the year’ award. She has received a doctorate in music from the University of Leeds and Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society, amongst other awards and recognition. Dame Fanny died on 20 December 2020

Papers of George Devine


Rudolf Laban Collection compiled by Dick McCaw

Red Ladder Theatre Collection

Red Ladder is a highly regarded radical theatre company with 49 years of history. Founded in 1968, the company is acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading national touring companies producing new theatre, contributing to social change and global justice. It started as a collective of theatre makers making street theatre in 1968 – most notably joining the anti-Vietnam War protests in Grosvenor Square led by Vanessa Redgrave. Since that time the company has been an important influence on British political theatre and indeed the wider theatre industry. Notable artists who began their career with Red Ladder include Michael Attenborough, Rona Munro, Meera Syal, Chris Reason, Jenny Sealey, David Edgar. The current artistic director of The Bush, Madani Younis started his career at Director of Asian Theatre School, a Red Ladder project. The company moved to Leeds in 1973 where it sits beside the mainstream theatres in the city. Born into an era of riots, demonstrations and revolts, Red Ladder continues to fight, to entertain, and to agitate in as equal measures as possible. Its archive is therefore extremely important to the history of theatre nationally and especially to the city of Leeds where, as a radical theatre company, it is unique.

RJC Dance Collection

RJC Dance was founded in 1993 by three of the original members of Phoenix Dance Theatre, David (Leo) Hamilton, Donald Edwards, and Edward Lynch. RJC Dance's work comes from a Black British perspective, and is committed to developing and promoting a new Black British choreographic language, this can be seen in its title: 'R' which stands for Reggae, 'J' for Jazz and 'C' originally for 'Calypso' but then changed to become the contemporary dance influence. Each area was developed and nurtured by the personal dance styles of the artists involved with the company including Sigourney Robinson, Joe Williams, De Napoli Clarke and current director, Kathy Williams.

RJC Dance has a truly broad appeal to a diverse audience both culturally and socially. Reggae, Jazz and Contemporary dance styles influence the company's choreographic approach which fuses social dance forms with contemporary dance techniques. The result is a universal dance language that is familiar, entertaining and hugely accessible. Since 1993 the company has created dance works which have influenced a generation of young choreographers and dance practitioners. A professional dance company that toured nationally and internationally from its base at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) in Chapeltown in 2003.

RJC’s performances are about communication, with distinctive dance works created from a Black British perspective, expressing and celebrating the multicultural society in which we live. The Company’s work has a real aesthetic as it pivots on historical, cultural and social dance forms fused with contemporary dance techniques. RJC is distinguished by its combination of exciting, technically accomplished dancers who are rigorous and inspiring teachers.

From 2006 RJC Dance moved to the Mandela Centre in Chapeltown, Leeds and the company now is committed to developing its extensive programme of education and community outreach work, and a creative method that integrates performance by young people in productions. RJC’s youth dance company Shahck-Out Too! is highly acclaimed for producing work of great artistic quality and dynamic energy.


South Bank Show Production Archive

The South Bank Show is a television arts magazine show, produced by ITV between 1978 and 2010 which brought both high art and popular culture to a mass audience. The South Bank Show was conceived, written and presented by former BBC arts broadcaster Lord Melvyn Bragg, Chancellor of the University of Leeds.

Scrapbooks and cuttings

This artificial collection reflect individual and small groups of scrapbooks, programmes, press cuttings and autograph books accessioned in Special Collections. Similar material will be commonplace within larger named archive collections.


T.W. Thompson Collection (Gypsy and Traveller related tales and research material)

T.W. [Thomas William] Thompson (1888-1968) was a leading collector of Gypsy and Traveller folklore particularly in the North of England and Midlands from 1915. He first became interested in Gypsy lore, language and genealogy during his undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge. He began collecting tales when he became a schoolmaster at Repton. In the early twentieth century he carefully recorded stories in his notebooks noting consistencies and variations in similar tales from multiple sources. He later presented the notebooks to Katharine Briggs who published summaries of them in the 'Dictionary of British Folk-Tales'. Thompson collected over 140 tales in total, and it is acknowledged as the largest body of Gypsy Traveller folk-tales collected in England single-handed. He also researched and compiled genealogies of contributors and other Gypsy Traveller families with particular interest in those who featured in the works of George Borrow.

Thompson was also honorary secretary of the Gypsy Lore Society 1922-1932 and contributed many articles to the Journal and was a member of the editorial board.

Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah Collection

The Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah is a Theatre in Education (TIE) company which was established in Harehills, East Leeds, in 1985 when it produced its first show, ‘Battlefield’. The reception of this play was such that the Blahs undertook a youth centre tour. The company continues to tour to this day.

The key aim of Blah Blah Blah is to provide young people with participatory theatre in the form of workshops and classroom sessions which explore the use of language and ideas to support learning and engagement. The company has adapted several Shakespeare classics, such as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘A Winter’s Tale’ for primary and high school children as well as commissioning numerous plays by playwrights including Mike Kenny and Mark Catley.

The theatre company celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010 with Kenny’s play ‘Stuck’, which was shortlisted for the Writer’s Guild Best Children’s Play, returning to the stage for a national tour.

Since its foundation Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah has taken part in several collaborations with the West Yorkshire Playhouse including its Christmas play ‘Ho Ho Ho!’ and also with Connecting Youth Culture in North Yorkshire. From 1985-1993, the company functioned as a partnership, since then it has gained charitable status and has been an Arts Council of England National Portfolio Organisation. In 2015, the actor Bill Nighy became the company’s patron. The theatre continues to produce several plays and workshops a year for children and young people in West and North Yorkshire.


Workshop Theatre productions, photographs, programmes and an acting text of Etherege's The Man of Mode

The University of Leeds Workshop Theatre, which is closely linked with the School of English, started life in 1960 as the drama lecture room, and was transformed into the Workshop Theatre in 1967 by a new building programme. In 1981 it was given extra rented space in the Emmanuel Institute, allowing the creation of the Studio, extended technical facilities, and general teaching space, together with administrative offices. 1988 saw further developments with the creation of a permanent Chair in Drama and Theatre Studies, and the addition of a third playing area, 'The Other Space'. In 2000 the University purchased the Emmanuel Institute and redeveloped it for the Theatre, which reopened there in 2002. Since 1966 the Workshop Theatre has staged hundreds of productions of plays from all over the world, including many written locally.

Wole Soyinka, literary papers

Wole (Oluwole Akinwande) Soyinka, the Nigerian playwright and poet, was born in Ijebu Isara, Nigeria, on 13 July 1934 and educated at Abeokuta Grammar School and Government College, Ibadan; then at University College, Ibadan (1952-1954) and Leeds University (1954-1957), where he graduated in English. In 1986 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. For fuller details of his life and achievements see Who's who.

William Boyd, literary manuscript notebook with a related letter

William Boyd (1952-), the British novelist, was born in Ghana, but now lives in London. His novels include 'A good man in Africa', 1981, 'An ice cream war', 1982, 'Stars and bars', 1984, 'School ties', 1985, 'Brazzaville beach', 1990, 'The blue afternoon', 1993, 'The dream lover', 1995, 'Armadillo', 1998, and 'A haunting', 2000.

William Gaskill, papers principally relating to his period at the Royal Court Theatre, 1965-1972

William Gaskill was born in Shipley in 1930. After experience in amateur and repertory productions and for Granada television, he began directing at the Royal Court Theatre in 1957. He worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and was a founder-director of the National Theatre, before succeeding George Devine as Artistic Director of the English Stage Company in 1965. He was a founder of the Joint Stock Company, and from 1983 began working as a freelance director and theatre teacher. He is especially associated with productions of Restoration comedy and the work of Bertolt Brecht.