Artists including Jeremy Deller, Peter Blake, Mona Hatoum and Chris Orr have created exclusive prints to celebrate the anniversary of 70 years of the NHS on 5 July.
At Nicer Tuesdays July our speaker line-up has a broad range of experience, anecdotes and advice to share. Taking to the Oval Space stage will be Spin studio’s Tony Brook and Claudia Klat, illustrator Kelly Anna, photographer Peter Anderson and ManvsMachine executive producer Ellie Bailey.
In November 2014, I began to catalogue the Peter Brook Collection. The collection is part of the V&A Theatre and Performance archives and will be stored at Blythe House alongside many of Brook’s friends and collaborators including Paul Scofield, Vivien Leigh, Christopher Fry and Sally Jacobs.
Unlike many archives which have come to us in rubbish bags or plastic crates, Peter Brook’s material came fairly well-organized in file boxes. People often store their papers in their damp sheds or cellars which can cause mould but luckily Brook’s were stored in various offices so are in pretty good condition.
When confronted with decades worth of material, it was hard to decide where to start. I felt it would be best to familiarize myself with the material, and took several trolleys down to our onsite Reading Room to lay it all out on the tables.
Anne Greig, one of the V&A conservators, assessed the condition of the material in the collection and what needed immediate conservation work. I had to count the letters and photographs so we could estimate numbers to order rehousing supplies. I discovered some great letters from John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Jeremy Irons, Tennessee Williams and Ted Hughes to name a few. I really enjoyed looking at his photographs from his travels.
Since then I’ve been organising, identifying and cataloguing the material which consists of letters, photographs, sketchpads, drawings, scrapbooks, annotated books, programmes, press cuttings, notebooks, articles, scripts, and more. The collection covers over six decades of Peter Brook’s life and all stages of his career from theatre, opera, to film and writing. I decided that it would be best to structure the collection by material type –e.g. all production photographs together and all the scripts together in another series. I then started to sort and list the material to help structure each series or section.
The collection will be catalogued by October 2015 and accessible for research in the Blythe House Reading Room (by appointment only). In the meantime, it’s my job to look after the material and create accurate archive records for the collection. The catalogue will guide researchers into what material there is in the collection – researchers should bear in mind that we don’t have every single piece of paper on one production or every single letter to and from Ted Hughes to Peter Brook and often only have piece of the puzzle.
I’m making steady headway with the cataloguing and have a great team of volunteers who help me to list, clean or rehouse material. This month we have been cleaning the scrapbooks:
I recently helped Kate Dorney select material from the collection for a deskcase on Peter Brook which will go in the V&A Theatre and Performance galleries in May 2015. I’m hoping to blog regularly about my discoveries in the Peter Brook Collection so please keep an eye on the V&A Blog to see how it’s all progressing.