Collection highlight

A scrapbook of Gilbert and Sullivan artists and productions mainly in Sydney and Melbourne under the direction of J.C. Williamson.

The front cover of a scrapbook reads "Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Co" printed over a green logo

Hall, Joyce & J.C. Williamson (Firm) & Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Co., Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Co. [scrapbook of Australian productions featuring the artists], [1920-1945], nla.obj-1194025055

Q: Do you have any programs which include the soprano opera singer Jean Campbell who performed with the J.C. Williamson Company in the 1940s? I live in Brisbane so I can’t visit the Library. 

The J.C Williamson Ltd Archive is a very large collection. The archive has been divided, and the programs form part of the J.C. Williamson Theatres material in the PROMPT collection. Material in these collections is not catalogued at item level, however there are comprehensive online finding aids which are arranged by sequence: 

Jean Campbell’s name appears in the finding aid for the Opera, comic opera and operetta collection of theatre programs where she is listed as a performer in the 5 productions below: 

  • La Boheme (1948) / Giacomo Pu’ccini Performances part of J.C. Williamson Grand Opera Season Tivoli Theatre, Sydney 
  • Il Barbiere di Siviglia (1948) / Gioachino Rossini Performances part of J.C. Williamson Grand Opera Season Tivoli Theatre, Sydney
  • Rigoletto (1949) / Giuseppe Verdi Single performance – 22 June His Majesty’s Theatre, Brisbane (Queensland) J.C. Williamson Grand Opera Season 
  • Il Barbiere di Siviglia (1949) / Gioachino Rossini Single performance – 2 August Theatre Royal, Adelaide (South Australia) J.C. Williamson Grand Opera Season 
  • Il Barbiere di Siviglia (1949) / Gioachino Rossini Single performance – 27 August His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth (Western Australia) J.C. Williamson Grand Opera Season - 1 program 

Items in our ephemera collections, such as theatre programs, are not available for interlibrary loan. However, where items have been digitised, you can select the 'View Online' button at the top of the catalogue record, or you can use our Copies Direct service to request copies and have them sent to you via mail or email. 

To place a Copies Direct order, simply click on the ‘Order a Copy’ button that is located at the top of the catalogue record and follow the prompts to complete the online order form. More information about Copies Direct is available on our Copies Direct page.  

Q. What collections do you have that specifically focus on circus and travelling performances in Australia? I'm particularly interested in early twentieth-century material.

The Library has an extensive collection of materials related to circus and travelling performances in Australia. As your enquiry is quite broad, I would suggest starting by browsing the Library's catalogue using the following subject headings for your search: 

When performing these searches on the online catalogue, you can use the "Narrow Search" options on the right side of the page, to filter your results by Format (Book, Picture, Audio, etc.), E-resources (for materials available online), Decade, and so on. 
The library has a number of specific collections that focus on elements of performing arts that might be of interest including: 

Also, of particular interest might be: 

Finally, one of the Library's former Research Fellows, Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens, delivered a presentation on her research, which also includes some information about travelling performer Bobby le Brun, of whom the Library holds a number of photographs and oral histories. 

Personal papers from Australian icons

The National Library has the honour of holding the personal papers of iconic Australian performing artists including Dame Nellie Melba, music educator Miriam Hyde, director and choreographer Sir Robert Helpmann, among many others. 

A handheld fan is spread open on a black backdrop; the fan has been signed by many different people
Dame Nellie Melba, Commemorative fan, c1908-1926, nla.obj-137322617

Not sure where to start?