The collections

The Rambert Archive was established in 1982 with financial assistance from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Pilgrim Trust and the Radcliffe Trust, and access to the archive has been ensured by support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A fully searchable catalogue for the Rambert Archive is available on the Archives Hub website.*

The Rambert Performance Database has a complete list of all the dance works Rambert has performed since 1926. It also has a timeline, an interactive map of venues visited on tour, and performance records listing first-night casts of each premiere.

More than 2,000 theatre programmes from the Rambert Archive have been digitised with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and can be viewed at www.rambertarchive.org.uk.

* Some material may be not be accessible to external researchers. Files which contain sensitive personal information about individuals are similarly restricted access under the Data Protection Act 1988. View the collections access policy for more information.

Rambert Dance Company Collection: a brief outline

The largest collection in the Rambert Archive is the Rambert Dance Company Collection, this focuses on Rambert and its predecessor organisations: The Marie Rambert Dancers; the Ballet Club in the 1930s; and Ballet Rambert (1935 – 1987).

Board and Administrative papers
Management and administrative papers for the organisation dating from the mid-20th century. Includes Rambert trust Ltd board papers, financial records and files relating to British and overseas tours.

Publicity material
A range of programmes, posters, leaflets, photographs and press cuttings dating back to 1926.

Design material
Designs for costumes, sets and lighting, as well as costumes from seminal productions.

Audio visual material
Rambert productions have been recorded on video from the early 1970s and all premieres are now recorded to DVD. Unfortunately due to contracts and intellectual copyright copies of most material is not available to researchers. However, it is possible to visit the archive to view individual items for non-commercial purposes.

Rambert productions at the Ballet Club in the 1930s were recorded on film. The masters of these films form the Marie Rambert Film Collection at The BFI National Archive.

Includes production files, choreographic notes, notation and music scores.

Backstage records
Stage management material including prompt books and stage management reports.

Special Collections: an overview

In addition to the main collection of Rambert material there are a number of smaller collections relating to organisations and people who have directly affected the company or have grown out of Ballet Rambert. These include Andree Howard, Paula Hinton, Walter Gore, the Camargo Ballet Society (1930 – 33), Dance Theatre (1937), the London Ballet (1938 – 40), Ballet Workshop (1951 – 55) and other productions which took place at the Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill Gate. In some cases, such as the Charles Boyd Collection or the Reg Wilson Collection, these are purely records of their interaction with the company. In other cases, such as Walter Gore – Paula Hinton Archive, the records have a broader coverage.

The Rambert Archive also holds the Marie Rambert Collection documenting the life of the company’s founding drector presented to the Archive just before her death in 1982, including material passed on to the Archive by Angela and David Ellis (her daughter and son-in-law) in autumn 2002 and company documents.

The Maude Lloyd and Wallace Potts Collection features films of a number of full length ballets featuring Rudolf Nureyev. These include his performances in Agon, Apollo, Bayadere, Giselle, Le Spectre de la Rose, Manfred, Nutcracker, Paradise Lost, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Songs of a Wayfarer, Swan Lake, The Tempest, Tristan Two Brothers and Washington Square. There are also several documentaries, television appearances and some home movie footage (full listing here).

The collection is named in honour of Maude Lloyd, a leading dancer in the early days of Rambert and subsequently a close friend of Rudolf Nureyev, and Wallace Potts, his close friend and archivist, and has been generously supported by The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation. The collection is available for individual private study only. Applications for this access should be made via the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation contact page.

Rudolf Nureyev Foundation logo

We are grateful for the significant gifts the Archive has received from former members of the company and its supporters.

'Rambert's collections have a coherence that is seldom found in dance archives. The majority of dance collections are in very vulnerable situations as they are held by the dance companies without any specialist storage or professional archival care. Rambert is unusual in its decision to actively collect its archives and dedicate a staff member to their care. Thus part of the significance of the collections is their coherence and potential for survival and use, compared with the fate of many performing companies' collections. The Rambert collections are filling in some of the historical gaps left by the loss of archival material elsewhere in the dance community.'

An archive specialist

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