National Lottery Heritage Fund Grants Local Theatre £100,000
The Cambridge Arts Theatre Trust is excited to announce that it has secured a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £100,000 to support the cataloguing of the Theatre's historic archive. The project, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, is titled 'Behind the Scenes: Saving and Sharing the Heritage of Cambridge Arts Theatre' and will unite and safeguard over 80 years of the Theatre's history.
Cambridge Arts Theatre has played host to many of Britain's most renowned actors such as Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Tom Hiddleston, Juliet Stevenson, Jonathan Pryce, and Eileen Atkins. A dazzling variety of cultural milestones have taken place at the Theatre, from Margot Fonteyn dancing her first Swan Lake to Harold Pinter's premiere of The Birthday Party. The collection holds unique items relating to many of the theatrical legends who have graced our stage, including unseen photographs, signed posters, scripts, press cuttings, and hand-painted costume designs.
Dave Murphy, Chief Executive at Cambridge Arts Theatre Trust said: 'We are honoured and hugely grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund have recognised the historical significance of Cambridge Arts Theatre both within our local community and the wider theatrical landscape. This is a great opportunity to bring over 80 years of theatrical heritage to life and learn more about the people that have made, and continue to make, this Theatre special.'
Anne Jenkins, Director, England: Midland & East, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: 'Cambridge Arts Theatre's historic archive is a treasure trove of items relating to Britain's rich theatrical heritage, with many a famous face treading the boards at the Theatre. We're delighted that our funding will safeguard these wonderful objects to inspire the UK's next generation of thespians and theatre enthusiasts.'
The collection is currently split between the Theatre and the V&A, which holds the UK's National Collection of Performing Arts. The Theatre is working in partnership with the V&A's Theatre & Performance department to unite the collection in Cambridge where it will be catalogued with the help of local volunteers. Upon completion, the collection will be permanently housed in the V&A's new Collections and Research Centre in Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as part of its V&A East project, opening in 2023. Accessible to the public, the centre will give visitors behind-the-scenes insight into how the museum cares, conserves and displays its collection, reinventing the idea of a museum store.
The Cambridge Arts Theatre Trust is an independent theatrical charity. Our mission is to inspire and nurture a lifelong love of the performing arts and to secure the future of our Theatre for generations to come. The Theatre will work with the local community to explore and celebrate treasures from the archive with a series of talks and exhibitions, and the creation of online learning resources. Through the collection of oral histories, this project also offers a unique opportunity to record and share people's memories about the Theatre that are at risk of being lost to time. The project will capture the history of the Theatre across the generations, to protect and preserve the Theatre's unique heritage by listening to the people who have loved our Theatre.
Ramona Riedzewski, Head of Collections Management, Department of Theatre and Performance, V&A said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity for a unique regional theatre to gain a greater understanding of its historical and cultural significance, and celebrate over 80 years of promoting the performing arts within its local community.'