Theatre Royal collection

The Birmingham Theatre Royal collection comprises play texts and prompt books dating from the mid to the late nineteenth century. Many are printed, about 300 are manuscripts. The majority of the manuscripts are copies made for prompting and for stage management.

The collection was formed by successive managers, at a time when there was both a stock company, and when touring companies travelled the country. It was saved by the young assistant manager, Philip Rodway, when the Theatre Royal was demolished for rebuilding 1902 to 1904.

When Philip died in 1932, his will specified that the Theatre's play texts collection should go to Raymond Crompton Rhodes. When he subsequently died unexpectedly in 1935, the collection came to the Library of Birmingham ‘at Mr Rodway’s privately expressed desire.’

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