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Research Collections

Childhood

Children's theatre

The University currently holds the archives of Paul Harman and Vicky Ireland, both prominent individuals in the world of Children's Theatre.  Work is currently underway to first list, and then catalogue the material in both these collections.

Childhood

Paul Harman Collection

Compiled between 1980 and 2011, this collection relates to professional theatre for young audiences in the UK and abroad. It was donated by Paul Harman in 2012.

Paul Harman started work as an actor in 1963, and later became involved in professional theatre for young people through the Belgrade Theatre in Education company, Coventry, formed 1965.

He was a founder and the Artistic Director of the Merseyside Young People's Theatre in Liverpool, 1978-89, and Artistic Director of the Cleveland Theatre Company in Darlington, 1994-2008.

Two organisations, both connected with the production of theatre for young audiences, are particularly well represented: the Cleveland Theatre Company and Theatre for Young Audiences, UK. A number of sets of minutes are held from each, from the years 1998-2008 in the case of the Cleveland Theatre Company, and 1997-2011 in the case of Theatre for Young Audiences, UK. These are held alongside financial information, correspondence, fliers, members' newsletters and other material relating to the running and development of the two organisations.

In addition, the collection contains flyers, booklets and other promotional material for approximately 250 theatre companies, festivals and productions for young audiences. The majority of this material is from the UK, but countries such as Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, South Korea, Mexico, Poland and Spain are also represented.

Harman was a member of the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ International (the Association Internationale du Théâtre de l’Enfance et la Jeunesse, or International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) from 2008-2011, and has also been a Chair of TYA-UK (Theatre for Young Audiences, UK), the UK Centre of ASSITEJ.  A small quantity of material is held relating to ASSITEJ, consisting of yearbooks and material produced for several ASSITEJ World Congresses.

Vicky Ireland Collection

The collection contains a wide variety of material relating to Vicky Ireland's work in children's theatre.

A particular strength is a series of assemblages of material relating to specific productions. The assemblages vary but contain material such as scripts, rehearsal notes, research material, press cuttings, programmes and flyers.  We also hold some performance recordings.

Ireland trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and then worked as an actress in TIE and repertory theatres all over Britain. She presented BBC’s TV’s Words and Pictures for twelve years. From 1989 to 2002 she was Artistic Director of Polka Theatre for Children, London and is now a freelance director and writer.

She was awarded an MBE in 2002 for services to children’s drama, the first of its kind.

In 2001, Vicky was a guest of the Japan Foundation and ASSITEJ Japan to study Children’s Theatre and primary education in Tokyo and Osaka.

She is Vice Chair of ACA (Action for Children’s Arts), Patron of Polka Theatre and was made an Honorary member of ASSITEJ UK (the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) in 2014.

A partial title list is available while the collection is being catalogued. 

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