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.
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.