University of Kent awarded grant to catalogue the David Drummond Pantomime Collection

The University of Kent is delighted to announce a new project that will catalogue and open up the previously inaccessible David Drummond Pantomime Collection to researchers and the public.

Toy books and libretti from the David Drummond Pantomime Collection

The cataloguing of the David Drummond Pantomime Collection is being funded by a £28,662 grant awarded from Archives Revealed. Archives Revealed is a partnership programme between The National Archives, The Pilgrim Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, and is the only funding stream in the UK dedicated to cataloguing and unlocking archives.

“Oh Yes It Is!”: Cataloguing the David Drummond Pantomime Collection project will allow us to deliver a detailed catalogue supported by digital imagery. “Oh yes It Is!” will connect more people with theatre and performance history through the highly appealing and accessible form of pantomime.

The David Drummond Pantomime Collection is a highly significant, diverse and fascinating archive that showcases the unique British pantomime tradition from 1800 to the early 21st century. The project will enable insight into regional and cultural variations through the lens of panto, reveal the stories and histories of people involved in popular performance, and foster research into the diversity of gender expression in pantomime and music hall heritage.

Head of Special Collections & Archives Karen Brayshaw said:

“We are incredibly excited to be able to begin work on this remarkable archive collection which will enable the David Drummond Pantomime material to be used and enjoyed more widely. Pantomime often represents people’s first visit to the theatre and connects people with memories of the past. We are looking forward to seeing the collection reveal traditions, personal stories and thought provoking insights across a variety of themes. It is a beautiful collection and we can’t wait to enthuse more people about pantomime and comic performance!”

The Archives Revealed funding programme focuses on transforming access to archives for a wide range of users, enabling more people to engage with the UK’s rich documentary heritage. Alongside University of Kent, nine other organisations received funding in the 2022 round of cataloguing grants: Black Cultural Archives, De Montfort University Special Collections, Hackney Archives, Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association, Institute of International Visual Arts, National Museums Northern Ireland, South West Heritage Trust, St George’s University of London, and Trafford Local Studies Centre.

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives said:

“We are delighted to have awarded these new grants with our partners the Wolfson Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust to catalogue ten impressive collections of local, national and even international importance. A catalogue opens a door for anyone to discover the incredible contents of an archive – after that, the possibilities are limitless.”

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