The Wolanski Foundation Project

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11 January 2006













Dennis Wolanski Library collection moves to NIDA and SBW Foundation

One of Australia's major information resources on the performing arts, the Dennis Wolanski Library of the Performing Arts press clipping and program collection, has moved to the National Institute of Dramatic Art and Seaborn Broughton & Walford Foundation.

The collection, to be maintained as a distinct unit of the SBW Foundation Library and Archive,  comprises

·         press clippings & ephemera - an estimated 3 million items, including extensive material on performers and performances at the Sydney Opera House 1972-1997, as well as on the performing arts in Australia in the late 19th century and 20th century. 

·         programs - a collection of  80,000 items, including duplicate Sydney Opera House programs (arranged under company and performer names, complementing the official chronological file at the Sydney Opera House and State Records Office), as well as holdings on the performing arts in Australia, mainly in the 20th century. 

·         indexes -a card index of 80,000 entries, including cross-references to all plays, operas and dance productions performed at the Sydney Opera House and other venues in Australia 1973-1996, select entries for productions from previous eras and overseas productions, and comprehensive entries for the British theatre review periodical Play Bulletin and the Australian periodical Theatre Australia. A separate index of Australian plays consists of 5400 cards on Australian drama with information on performances, availability of published editions, and location of manuscript playscripts. 

The collections had been deposited for safe keeping in the University of New South Wales Library after the Sydney Opera House Trust closed the Dennis Wolanski Library in 1997.  

The new location for the collection was stimulated by a partnership between the Wolanski Foundation, the Seaborn Broughton and Walford Foundation and NIDA to develop the NIDA archive. A major fund-raising campaign for the archive kicked off in 2005 under the patronage of Cate Blanchett. The archive collection and costume research collection were relocated to an auxiliary building in Alexandria in November 2005. Work will continue in 2006 to develop programs and services, complementing the Rodney Seaborn Library and SBW Foundation Library and Archive, which are located in the main building at Kensington.  

The Wolanski Foundation was established in 1998 to facilitate management, presentation and appreciation of the performing arts though information servicesIt aims to generate ongoing value from the work of the Dennis Wolanski Library from 1973-1997, provide a Web-based information service, assist other organisations to manage their arts information resources, stimulate collaboration in the management of arts information, and reduce anomalies relating to material transferred from the Sydney Opera House to other organisations. 

The SBW Foundation was founded in 1986 to support the performing arts, particularly Australian theatre, with substantial financial backing from Dr Rodney Seaborn. It owns the Stables Theatre, supports the Griffin Theatre Company, has a share in the Costume Shop, and manages the Rodney Seaborn Award for Australian playwriting. In 2001, the Foundation formed a relationship with NIDA. The NIDA library was renamed the Rodney Seaborn Library. And a separate SBW Foundation Library and Archive moved to NIDA.

NIDA is Australia’s leading theatre training school.  

For further information about the acquisition contact the SBW Foundation Archivist, Peter Orlovich,, NIDA Archivist, Margaret Leask, or the Wolanski Foundation Director, Paul Bentley, 

Websites: NIDA, SBW Foundation, the Wolanski Foundation


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