17 March 2021 / Associated Organisations

V&A: Closure of the Theatre and Performance Department



The Society for Theatre Research views the proposed restructuring of the Victoria and Albert Museum with great alarm as a major threat to the UK’s standing as a centre for research into and dissemination of knowledge about the performing arts. The Theatre and Performance collections are a major international and community resource that currently operate very effectively to the benefit of both scholars and the general public.

The STR, a driving force in the establishment of the collections through the dedicated work of Gabrielle Enthoven, has not been consulted and we believe that to lose any of the collective expertise and experience of the specialised staff runs the risk of setting back the study and appreciation of the extraordinarily rich performing arts heritage of this country. It will also have a very significant negative effect on recording contemporary theatre for the benefit of the future and will deter potential donors from enhancing the collection through their gifts.

This collection requires not only dedicated curators with aesthetic and historical knowledge of art and design and technical skill in the conservation of its contents but also archivists, librarians, and collections specialists with an understanding of the business and practice of theatre and contact and involvement with its practitioners.

Please use your networks to mobilise support for the threatened staff and collections and sign the petition on about the theatre collections:
Click here to go to the petition page and sign

SIBMAS, the International Association of Libraries, Museums, Archives and Documentation Centres of the Performing Arts, is also campaigning against this restructuring of the V&A.
Read more about their campaign here.

It is not only the Department of Theatre and Performance that is threatened by this wholesale restructuring of the V&A. The National Art Library is also going to lose two thirds of its staff and be closed to the public for a year, which will severely impact this invaluable asset, free to the public.
Read more and consider signing the petition about the National Art Library here