Fortuitous discovery brings theatre company to life
The lost archives of one of Newcastle’s longest running theatre companies, discovered in an abandoned inner city office space set for demolition, will be digitised at the University of Newcastle.
Staff at the University’s Cultural Collections recently began a significant archiving process, digitising hundreds of images of theatrical productions staged by the now defunct Hunter Valley Theatre Company (HVTC).
Born in the 1970s, the HVTC was the first professional theatre company in regional Australia and became the launch pad for many Australian performers who are now household names including actor/writer/director Jonathon Biggins and John Doyle, who is one half of the duo ‘Roy and HG’.
The theatre company folded in 1996 and until a few years ago the whereabouts of the company’s artistic and administrative records remained a mystery.
In 2008, a group of young actors and former University of Newcastle students rehearsing a play at Newcastle’s Civic Arcade discovered boxes of the company’s records including programs, posters, and production photographs and accounting records.
“Recognising the significance of the collection of documents, the young thespians brought the records to Drama staff at Callaghan and the HVTC archive has been housed for the past few years in one of our offices,” University drama lecturer, Dr Gillean Arrighi said.
Work is now underway on the project through the University’s NOVA digital repository and the documents will live in the University’s Cultural Collections.
“The archive will be made available to the Hunter arts community and theatre researchers globally,” Dr Arrighi said.
“This is a significant archival project that recognises the contribution of the HVTC to the cultural life of Newcastle and the Hunter region, and the position of this theatre company within the national arts stage.”
See the collection of images from productions in the 1980s and 1990s here:
For interviews: contact Dr Gillian Arrighi on 0400 309 402 or email@example.com
*** Please note the University of Newcastle will be closed from 5pm on Wednesday 19 December 2012 until 9am on Thursday, 3 January 2013. ***