2017 BAC Cataloguing Grant for Business Archives related to the Arts Winner

2017 winner of the BAC Cataloguing Grant for Business Archives related to the Arts

The Business Archives Council is delighted to announce the winners of the BAC cataloguing grant for business archives related to the Arts, 2017. 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 award was given to Falmouth University for the cataloguing of the Kneehigh Theatre Archive.

Kneehigh was formed in 1980 by Mike Shepherd, a village school teacher in Cornwall who ran theatre workshops in his spare time. The Company have gone on to develop a reputation for creating ambitious, vigorous and popular theatre for audiences throughout the UK and internationally. Mike is still Artistic Director of Kneehigh, and performs and directs shows for audiences globally.

The collection that the grant will fund relates to two key productions in the Kneehigh Archive - Tregeagle (1985, 1989, 1996) and A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (1992, 2004-6, 2011-13). These mark the first and last productions by the late Bill Mitchell as Director, Designer and later Artistic Director for Kneehigh. The recent early death of Bill Mitchell has led both Kneehigh and Mitchell’s own Company Wildworks to consider how best to celebrate the legacy of this pioneer of Landscape Theatre. The cataloguing of this collection, which includes photographs, scripts, design records, promotional materials and audio visual recordings, will provide an exploration of Mitchell’s work through these two key pieces of theatre and will facilitate teaching and research into Mitchell and Kneehigh’s particular approach to theatre.

The collection was gifted to Archives and Special Collections at Falmouth University, who still has close ties to Kneehigh. The University has collection strengths in art, local Cornish history and Cornish performance. Falmouth’s grant application contained a realistic cataloguing plan and budget as well as strong letters of support. It demonstrated the teaching and research potential that would be unlocked as a result of cataloguing the collection and gave evidence of wider collaboration possibilities.

Falmouth’s Archivist & Special Collections Officer Sarah C Jane said “We are thrilled to receive this grant that will facilitate work on two important pieces of theatre in Cornwall. Bill’s theatre touched all those who had the privilege to experience it – we are now able to bring the processes behind his work with Kneehigh to wider audiences – not only staff and students at Falmouth University, but also researchers and academics elsewhere as well as fans of his work, in Cornwall and beyond”.

Read the report.