Four Centuries of Shakespeare: The Prompt Books

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Previous title: Shakespeare and the Stage

Shakespeare scholars, theater historians, performers and production specialists will discover the working texts of stage managers and company prompters, actors' study books and notes on staging and role interpretation. Libraries in both England and the United States contributed their collections to create this magnificent resource.

Series One: The Folger Shakespeare Library Collection, Washington D.C.

This collection represents the world's largest assemblage of prompt books, with more than 900 volumes included.

Series One: 86 reels in four parts

Series Two: The Harvard Theatre Collection

Series Two includes nearly 400 prompt books that vividly recreate British and American 19th century Shakespearean productions.

Series Two: 36 reels in two parts

Series Three: The Shakespeare Library Collection, Birmingham Public Library

Covering a great range of productions in England between 1811 and 1929, this part of the collection offers insights into both touring London plays and the Birmingham Theatre Royal's own productions. Included are the prompt books (1900-1926) of Frank Benson, the leading figure in the Stratford Shakespeare Festivals, and the Gordon Crosse Theatrical Diary, which offers a rare eyewitness account of Shakespeare productions more than more than 60 years.

Series Three: 10 reels

Series Four: The Shakespeare Centre Library Collection, Stratford-upon-Avon

The primary archive for all the records of the Stratford theatres is the Shakespeare Centre. It contains more than 500 prompt books, dating from the early 18th century to 1975. The collection's earliest prompt copies are from the days of the Theatres Royal, including the rare copy of Cymbeline used in David Garrick's version of the play at Drury Lane.

Series Four: 85 reels in four parts



Series Two: Prompt Books from the Harvard Theatre Collection "Doctoral candidates will find innumerable subjects worthy of treatment, and crucial and historical studies of Shakespeare are enriched by new-found access to essential facts about important Shakespeare productions." -- Charles H. Shattuck, Author of The Shakespeare Prompt Books: A Descriptive Catalogue

— Charles H. Shattuck

Series One: Prompt Books from the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C "An essential resource for research in dramatic and theatrical history. The Folger Shakespeare Library is especially rich in prompt books from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, representing the work of British and American actors and managers." -- Dr. Russell Jackson, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham

— Russell Jackson, Dr.

Series Four: Prompt Books from the Shakespeare Centre Library, Stratford-Upon-Avon "This major collection of prompt books is unusual for recording the history of Shakespeare productions at one theatre, and latterly by one company... The completeness of this record makes this an invaluable archive for the study of a succession of managements, all of them leading presenters of Shakespeare on the stage in their time." -- Dr. Russell Jackson, The Shakespeare Institute University of Birmingham

— Russell Jackson, Dr.

Series Three: Prompt Books and Related Material from the Shakespeare Library, Birmingham Public Library "The Gordon Crosse Diaries offer a detailed, methodical and lively firsthand account by an expert and insatiable theatre-goer, while the Theatre Royal prompt books reflect the tastes of a major city...Frank Benson's company is of great importance in the history of Shakespearean production." -- Dr. Russell Jackson, The Shakespeare Institute , University of Birmingham

— Russell Jackson, Dr.