Theatrical Ephemera at Christ Church

Among the many treasures of Christ Church Library is a very little known, but extraordinarily valuable and huge collection of theatrical ephemera donated by Francis Bridgford Brady in 1977. Containing tens of thousands of items ranging in date from the 17th to 20th centuries, the collection spans a range of theatrical and entertainment subjects and is an invaluable primary resource for entertainment and wider social history.

The only comparable collections worldwide are at the V&A, the British Museum, the University of Pennsylvania and the New York Public Library. Roughly 25% of the material in our collection is completely unique, not being catalogued within any traceable archive elsewhere.  A priceless collection the Library plans to catalogue, digitise and research in detail, thus making available to scholars material and images of immense value.

We are already planning an exhibition, The Miniature Stage - 19th Century English Toy Theatre in Christ Church Collections, to run from 12 September to 7 October 2016. In a special workshop on 7 October, we aim to illustrate how toy theatres were built by demonstrating the assembly and decoration, and handing out kits for you to build at home. The kit will include a paper model to cut out and colour, complete with characters and scenery from a popular pantomime.