Red Ladder Theatre Company

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Red Ladder receives 2016 BAC Cataloguing Grant!

We are delighted to have been announced as winners of The Business Archives Council cataloguing grant for business archives related to the Arts, 2016. The Arts grant was launched in 2013 to support an under-represented area of business archives and to complement wider initiatives for archiving the arts by The National Archives and the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives.

The judges were very impressed with the high standard of the applications that were received from across the country, but ultimately decided to present the award to Special Collections, Leeds University Library & Red Ladder Theatre Company for the cataloguing of our company archives.

The grant will fund the cataloguing of our records, dating from 1971 to 2014.  These contain board minutes, tour plans, articles, scripts, set drawings and publicity materials. Currently, the lack of hand or box lists means that the collection is inaccessible and so the project to catalogue it in-depth will make a clear difference.

 ‘The judges recognised that the Archives of Red Ladder Theatre Company could be not only a strong research resource for theatre and performance (a subject strength within special collections at Leeds University Library), but also in the under-represented area of radical theatre. As the company has focused on disadvantaged communities and multiculturalism, and working with living playwrights, it also has the potential to open new avenues of research into the arts and performance in West Yorkshire and beyond. “Red Ladder were and remain absolutely pivotal…, being, now, the longest lasting of all the groups that came out of 1968. Their history is also the history of alternative and community theatre over the past 40 years, and so it offers a unique and irreplaceable perspective.” (Dr Bill McDonnell, Senior Lecturer at Sheffield University).’

After a vigorous recruitment campaign by the University of Leeds we are delighted to announce that Fiona Gell, Special Collections Team Assistant and Coordinator of the Leeds Big Bookend Festival was successful in her application to work on the Red Ladder Archive. 

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