Performing Arts Collection
Performing Arts Collection
Performing Arts Collection
The Performing Arts Collection is Australia's largest and most important collection of performing arts history and traditions. Explore the major collecting areas of Circus, Dance, Opera, Music and Theatre, or browse the collection by featured object type, including stage and costume designs, photography and programmes.

We've been collecting for over 30 years so not all of our information is available electronically yet. New collection content is being published to this site all the time. It is now possible to browse over 50,000 object records from the Performing Arts Collection that are currently available online, or go to our Search Page to look for something specific.

For further enquiries we suggest that you contact the Research Centre.

 

Circus Collection
As the official national archive to the circus industry, the Arts Centre's Performing Arts Collection plays a leading role in the preservation of circus material and traditions in Australia. This task is facilitated by a committed, enthusiastic circus network.
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Dance Collection
The Arts Centre Melbourne's dance collection traces the history of dance in Australia from the late nineteenth century to today. The collection encompasses the work of many of Australia's major dance companies and individual performers whilst spanning a range of genres.
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Music Collection
Our commitment to collecting and documenting popular performance is well illustrated by the music collection. From jazz and folk to pop and rock, the collection has significant holdings ranging from those documenting ladies dance bands of the 1920s and 1930s through to The Kenn Brodziak Beatles Australian Tour Collection.
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Opera Collection
Arts Centre Melbourne's opera collection features the world's largest and most significant collection of material relating to the career of soprano Dame Nellie Melba. The development of opera in Australia can be traced through the Centre's extensive programme and photography collections.
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Theatre Collection
The theatre collection is the largest and most diverse part of the Performing Arts Collection. It represents many aspects of traditional and contemporary theatre including drama, comedy, magic, musical theatre, puppetry, vaudeville and variety.
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Broadcast & Popular Entertainment
The supporting collections cover some of the popular broadcast entertainment areas of film, television, radio and recording. In recognition of individuals that cross over multiple performance disciplines, we also hold supporting collections of items relating to performers who have worked in the film, radio, recording and television industries.
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Designs
Designs are a common theme represented in the collecting areas of Dance, Theatre, Opera and Music. Comprising over 6,000 items, the Collection includes costume and set design drawings, technical plans, set models created by some of Australia's most influential designers.
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Photographs
The Performing Arts Collection of photographs spans decades of Australian entertainment history. Comprising over 250,000 images in print, negative, transparency and digital formats, these photographs are collected primarily to document and provide an insight into all aspects of the performing arts.
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Programmes
The Programme collection documents the rich history of all performance types represented in the Collection and provides detailed information to researchers about repertoire, public taste, performers and venues spanning the 19th century to the present day in Australia.
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Victorian Arts Centre Site History
Since the late nineteenth century the site on which the Victorian Arts Centre now stands has been associated with entertainment and the performing arts. Collection holdings include objects, documents and ephemera relating to former uses of the site where the Victorian Arts Centre Buildings now stand.
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