Who we are:

The Historical Research Committee is the ABTT’s expert group on the physical and technical history of buildings, productions and associated entertainment installations and equipment. The Committee was created to ensure that the history, technology and equipment of Theatres and buildings of interest are not lost to the next generation.

What we do:

The Committee has two main concerns: to document and record the onset of technology being used in the field of entertainment, and to evaluate the importance of technical installations and artefacts, especially where they are threatened with either demolition or destruction.

The Committee is just as keen to document what is going on now.

The Committee has been able to provide policy advice for the Theatres Trust, working closely with them to monitor installations in theatre buildings. It is not a question of trying to stand in the way of progress, but rather making sure that what has been successful, useful and relevant is properly recorded.

Our Aims:

  • Researching, recording and publishing all aspects of physical and technical theatre history.
  • Maintaining active liaison with APAC (Association of Performing Arts Collections), SIBMAS (International Directory of Performing Arts Collections and Institutions) and other appropriate bodies.
  • Advising on and promoting ways of conserving historic theatre equipment, documentary material and artefacts.
  • Continuing a “Living History” programme of audio and video interviews of distinguished practitioners in creative and technical theatre for the ABTT and other appropriate archive collections.
  • Establishing and maintaining a professional archive of information, publications and transactions.
  • Nurturing an interest in the history of technical theatre for future generations through the presentation of public events both in London and around the United Kingdom.
  • Co-operating with others to promote the objectives of the Association whenever possible.
  • Advising on and supporting the placement of personal collections and archives to ensure sustainable curation for academic and public access.  For more information click here

Our Achievements:

ABTT Technical Backstage Survey 2009

An authoritative list of items of historically important technical material in existing theatres throughout the UK. This can be found here.

ABTT Technical Theatre Book Collection

The ABTT Book Collection now resides at The Theatres Trust. More information on this can be found here.

ABTT Register of Paint Frames and Floors

A constantly developing listing of painting facilities for backcloths and scenery in the UK. This can be found here.

Personal Archives Guidance Note

Who or which organisation might best benefit from being the custodian of your personal archive? Look here to find out who may benefit from your collection. This can be found here.

Why we need people like you:

If you have an interest in the physical and technical history of buildings, productions and associated entertainment installations and equipment, do get in contact as we’d love to hear from you!