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British Library acquires D’Oyly Carte archive

By | Published on Tuesday 27 October 2015

D'Oyly Carte

The British Library has announced that it has acquired the archive of the Gilbert & Sullivan savoy-opera-producing D’Oyly Carte company, ensuring that the files, scores and books stay in the UK.

The company performed the work of Gilbert & Sullivan for 107 straight years, starting in 1875, before closing in 1982. It reformed in 1988 before closing again in 2003, though in 2013, the company co-produced a performance of ‘The Pirates Of Penzance’ with the Scottish Opera, a partnership it will reprise next year with a staging of ‘The Mikado’.

A statement from the Library’s Curator Of Theatre Archives And Manuscripts, Kathryn Johnson said: “The British Library is delighted to have acquired such an important archive which provides real insight into the development of musical theatre in Britain during the 19th and 20th century. It is the very depth and breadth of the archive, which includes everything from audition books and scores, to costume designs, financial accounts and stage managers’ reports, that makes this archive so significant”.

D’Oyly Carte’s Ian Martin added: “This is excellent news for D’Oyly Carte and for the public, as it means that the archive will remain in the UK, be housed appropriately, conserved and properly catalogued. It also means that it will be accessible once again to the public for research purposes”.

The archive is expected to be accessible to the public by spring 2017.