Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Archiving Druid - the First Ten Years

Cataloguing is well underway on the extensive archive and papers of Druid Theatre Company. Hundreds of files of material have been sorted and arranged and now being described to item-level. The end result will be a considerably detailed but user friendly guide and finding aid on the Druid papers. Any reader looking to carry out research on the Druid papers will be able to navigate the electronic finding aid prior to arrival for consultation at reading room of NUI Galway Archives and Special Collections at James Hardiman Library.
The collection has been arranged into two primary series; productions and press cuttings. The production files contain a varied body of records and include programmes, posters, flyers, invitations, scripts, hand written stage, lighting and sound directions and various other documents.
Further to this an immense collections of photographs document a visual record of the Druid productions. Hundreds of images, the vast majority in exceptional quality are an enviable resource for any archive.
The production files are arranged chronological by year and again by each production in sequence within that year. So far, the first ten years of the Druid production files have been catalogued and cover years 1974 – 1975. Key works in this time include major nationwide tours of new works by the like of Tom Murphy and Geraldine Aron and productions of Wilde, Boucicault, Shepherd, O’Casey, Farrell, Brecht and others.
The press files are an interesting commentary on the social and public reception of Druid and their plays and ideas throughout its existence. Interestingly, the press files document the productions, awards and achievements of the University College Galway Drama Society in the year previous to the official formation of Druid theatre company. These files highlight the promise of this particular group of theatre enthusiasts who would go on to become Druid theatre company and transform the reception and production of Irish plays in the West of Ireland, nationwide and indeed worldwide.
The press files are arranged in a separate series and are arranged in monthly files in chronological order by year.
The press cuttings document the formation and work of Druid from day one and an unbroken sequence of press cuttings continue from 1973 to 1999. Covering every possible aspect of Druid and its development, articles on its major works, its cast and members, international tours and awards and accolades, the press files offer a unique viewpoint into this key period in Irish theatre history.  Features and articles on Irish theatre in general provide an addition interesting insight into Irish and international theatrical events at this time. Work on cataloguing these press cuttings has just begun and will continue over the coming months.

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