Shakespeare's Globe

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Archive Collections

The main collection in the Archive is the Performance Archive, which documents the creative aspects of theatrical performances at Shakespeare’s Globe from 1996 and demonstrates the processes that go into a production. It also charts the development of the experimental 'Original Practices' approach to productions that was pioneered at the Globe during its first 10 years.

The types of records you can expect to find for some or all of each play is listed below. Some of Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted more than once at the Globe and can be used for comparative purposes.

Archive Collections are searchable online here.


restrictions - advance notice

Please note: from mid October 2017 - May 2018, most of our Performance Archives will not be accessible as they will be off-site, undergoing digitisation for an online project with Adam Matthew. The video archive of all performances at Shakespeare's Globe will be available throughout this period, as will access to programmes for the plays and many other archival collections. Please contact us at for further information. The Library will be also open as normal.


Types of Records

Moving Image Archive: Filming of performances at the Globe has been taking place since 1996. Click for here further information.

Prompt Books: The Stage Manager’s records of each production. The main part of the prompt books is the script for each production, which is often annotated with cues, blocking and calls. They can include additional information such as notes on props, fights, jigs and rehearsal schedules. The Archive receives Prompt Books after the end of each Season.

Music Archive: Contains a collection of scores for the plays including a substantial number of compositions by Claire van Kampen, Director of Theatre Music (1997-2005).

Wardrobe Bibles: These are compiled by the Wardrobe Manager and record all the costumes for each play. They include designs of costumes, measurements, photographs of cast in costumes, research and notes.

Photographs: Production photographs provide a unique record of the performance. They are taken by a photographer chosen by the director. Digital images are only available for performances from 2007.

Show Reports: Front of House and Stage Management make a report on every performance, which act as important records of audience response and incidents that occurred during the play.

Posters: The collection includes posters for Globe productions as well as well visiting productions.

Programmes: The Archive keeps a copy of each programme for each play. These contain cast and creative productions lists and sometimes production notes.

Reviews and ephemera: Press reviews are available for productions up to 2010.


Globe Education events

The programme of Globe Education events compliment and support research into the productions at Shakespeare's Globe are also available. This includes:

- Read Not Dead and Rarely Played performances: audio and filmed recordings of over 200 plays written between 1567-1642

- Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank: prompt books, programmes and moving image recordings of performances of specially designed for young people

- Lectures, research workshops and conferences


Online Resources

There are many further research resources that can be consulted online through the Discovery Space, including the Globe Research Bulletins from 1995-2002, detailing the research on each season and interviews with actors.


Institutional Archives

The archive also holds the Globe's Institutional Archives (those records created by The Shakespeare Globe Trust and predecessor bodies) that document the decades of planning, persistence and enthusiasm that led to the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe, through Sam Wanmaker’s vision.

This includes correspondence, administrative papers, publicity material, fundraising events, photographs and Mark Rylance's papers, during his Artistic Directorship at the Globe, 1995-2005. There are also a small number of papers acquired from external sources, which are related to the history of Shakespeare's Globe.

We also hold two important archives, which currently have very limited access:

- The 'Original Practices' Clothes Archive: A selection of clothes created by Jenny Tiramani for the Globe's 'Original Practices' productions, (1995-2005 & 2012) based on careful research of Elizabethan and Jacobean techniques and historically accurate materials.

- The Pentagram Archive: Architectural plans, project files and correspondence relating to the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe by the architect Theo Crosby, who was a founding partner of the architectural firm Pentagram.


Collected Archives

The Archive also holds a small number of collections deposited by individuals and organisations with a connection to the Globe. These include: Sheila Burnett’s black and white photographs of various productions at the Globe; Phil Polglaze’s photographs of selected events at the Globe; Bill Pearson’s photographs of the Globe Construction site in the 1980s; Mel Cobbs, Master Plasterer for the Globe, slide records of the Globe reconstruction and a file of ephemera on the illustrator Grace Golden, who worked with Sam Wanamaker in the 1970s. 


Our collections are still in the process of being catalogued; as we progress, the range and number of records described online will grow.
If you can't find what you are looking for or would like further information about our Archive collections please contact the Archivist.



Online Library Catalogue →

Information on our Library Collection →