Archives and Special Collections

The archives of the RAD include past copies of exam syllabi, minutes of committee meetings, prospectuses, course brochures and annual reports alongside various documents, papers and photographs.

Relating to events and activities throughout the organisation’s over 100-year history, these are housed alongside the significant, personal collections of Dame Adeline Genée, Phyllis Bedells and Philip Richardson.

Other collections include the GBL Wilson photographic archive and memorabilia relating to artists such as Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, and Margot Fonteyn.


Special collections include materials such as:

Rare books

The library houses a number of rare and antiquarian dance books, many of which were bequeathed to the RAD by Philip Richardson following his death…
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Manuscripts and transcripts

Manuscripts can be found among many of the special collections and archives in the library. These include several by Ivor Guest as well as the…
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Notebooks and scrapbooks

Notebooks are varied and range from the teaching notes of legendary RAD teachers to the writings and scrapbooks of dancers, choreographers and patrons. Within our…
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Music scores

A number of rare, handwritten music scores can be found among the archives and special collections. These include several by Dora Bright in the Adeline…
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Programmes and souvenir brochures

The Adeline Genée archive includes programmes from performances at London's Empire Theatre at the turn of the 20th century, while Philip Richardson collected programmes from…
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In addition to the GBL Wilson photographic archive, the library's collections include personal, publicity and performance photos of artists such as Adeline Genée, Phyllis Bedells,…
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Costume designs

The Adeline Genée archive includes a large number of costume designs by C. Wilhelm for ballets produced at the Empire Theatre such as Old China…
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Artworks and artefacts

The RAD has a large number of pictures and objets d'art relating to RAD or British ballet. Lithographs, drawings and prints include images of Romantic…
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It's a measure of the pace of technological change that comparatively recent archive materials now pose challenges in trying to retrieve their secrets.
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