About Us - History

Archives Mandate and Holdings

The Stratford Festival Archives is considered the world’s largest and most complete performing arts archive devoted to a single theatre. Its mandate is to represent all Festival artistic and administrative activities, preserve a comprehensive documentary and physical record of the Festival’s history, and make the materials available to all users, in order to enhance the understanding of live theatre and of the Stratford Festival’s contribution to world theatre.

History and Holdings
Since its founding in 1967, the Archives has grown into an internationally recognized theatre resource with records and artifacts documenting every aspect of the Stratford Festival’s history and achievements since 1952. We are an invaluable resource for our own staff and artists, and for external users, assisting with thousands of requests each year. The Archives are open to the public year-round, Monday-Friday.

The Stratford Festival Archives is unique, not only as one of the oldest formally constituted archive of its kind in North America, but also because of the scope and comprehensiveness of the records it maintains.

The Archives contains many rare and unique artifacts, including the robe worn by Alec Guinness in the inaugural 1953 production of Richard III, archival videos of productions, a chair reputed to have been owned by William Shakespeare and a copy of the Fourth Folio of Shakespeare’s works.

The Archives also maintains a book collection and is the repository of personal archives from such Festival artists as Tanya Moiseiwitsch, Brian Jackson, Richard Monette and Stanley Silverman.

The Archives holdings (alphabetical by type) consist of the following 

  • Accessories 
  • Administration Records
  • Architectural plans 
  • Archives Records 
  • Art collection 
  • Bibliography 
  • Cassettes – Miscellaneous 
  • Cassettes – Production 
  • Clippings Books 
  • Cole collection (programmes and posters) 
  • Communications/Publicity: Graphics, Marketing, Education, Press Releases, Newsletters 
  • Compact discs – Commercial 
  • Costumes 
  • Design sketches 
  • Design sketch – Negatives 
  • Design sketches – Wigs 
  • Directors’ Office Records 
  • Dye Records 
  • Elliot Hayes Collection 
  • Films – Miscellaneous 
  • Headwear
  • Life safety systems 
  • Lighting Records 
  • Magazines 
  • Marketing Materials 
  • Masks 
  • Miscellaneous art posters 
  • Music Office Records 
  • Oral history
  • Photographs – Production
  • Photographs – Misc.
  • Posters
  • Production Office Records 
  • Prompt Books 
  • Properties 
  • Prop sketches
  • Record albums 
  • Record albums - 45’s 
  • Record albums – CBC 
  • Reels – Miscellaneous material 
  • Reels – Production 
  • Richard Monette Fonds 
  • Scenery Bibles 
  • Scores – Miscellaneous material 
  • Scores – Plays productions 
  • Scores – Small Ensemble 
  • Scrapbooks 
  • Scripts 
  • Set models 
  • Set Designs
  • Slide collection - Production 
  • Special collections 
  • Stage Management Records 
  • Stanley Silverman collection 
  • Tanya Moiseiwitsch collection – Photographs 
  • Tanya Moiseiwitsch Fonds 
  • Tom Patterson collection 
  • Videos – Marketing 
  • Videos – Miscellaneous material 
  • Videos – Productions (1968-present) 
  • Wardrobe bibles 
  • Wig bibles

Policies Regarding Holdings
Should you wish to visit the Archives to conduct research, please note that some of the holdings have been designated “restricted access”. In some cases, permission must be obtained in order to use the materials. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the Archives staff.

2014 Playbill List King LearCrazy for YouA Midsummer Night's DreamThe Beaux' StratagemMan of La ManchaAlice Through the Looking-GlassHay FeverKing JohnMother Courage and Her ChildrenAntony and CleopatraChristina, The Girl KingA Midsummer Night's Dream - a chamber play2014 Season