The Stephen Sondheim Society Archive, which is curated for us by Kingston University was officially launched at the Rose Theatre, Kingston on 5th July 2013.
Julius Weinberg, Vice-Chancellor of the University gave the opening address.
Download a PDF of the official programme of the event by clicking on the cover above.
Kris Olsen, Stephen Dickinson (piano) Kara-Ami McCreanor, Emma Odell, Adrian Grove and Dom Hodson, who provided the entertainment at the launch ceremony.
Trustees David Lardi, David Ovenden, David Oldcorn, Quay Chu with former Chairman Steve Aubrey (second left) and Lynne Chapman
The archive launch has been mentioned on three important musical theatre websites.
First of these, The Stage’s article talks about the archive’s origins in the personal collection of Peter Wood, and quotes Kingston University’s archivist, Katie Giles:
“The Stephen Sondheim Society was keen to bring the material to a wider audience and give students and researchers the chance to explore it. The project was obviously a labour of love for Mr Wood. Everything came to us in very good condition, carefully stored and catalogued, with its own numbering system.”
Jeremy Chapman, writing for Musical Theatre Review, adds detail of the launch event itself, and included a nice plug for the Society:
“After University vice-chancellor Julius Weinberg had cleverly applied Sondheim’s own words to indicate his contribution to research, critical thinking and lecturing – “please don’t cough, it tends to throw the actors off” (from The Frogs) – right down to the student union canteen – “the worst pies in London” (Sweeney Todd), Society trustee David Lardi outlined its history…
Perhaps the most unexpected piece of memorabilia is a souvenir apron from Sweeney Todd, complete with fake bloodstains, while some of the programmes have unusual designs, a pop-up book for the fairytale-based Into the Woods and a gun-embossed Monopoly board for Assassins.
Reporting what Society members get for their £20 subscription, only £5 more than when it was formed two decades ago, Lardi listed the quarterly magazine full of reviews and features, theatre trips at reduced prices complete with Q&A sessions with cast and director afterwards, discounts on shows, CDs and DVDs, a garden party every summer, workshops and lectures and the Society’s flagship Student Performer of the Year competition, which took place this year at London’s Garrick Theatre.”
And Rex Bunnett’s Overtures website outlines some of the interesting material which can be found within the archive:
“The focus of the collection is on the ‘ephemera’ of theatre, such as programmes, posters, and publicity materials. There are also a few unusual pieces- amongst the Sweeney Todd related material is a promotional apron from the original 1979 Broadway production, as well as the oldest item in the collection – an illustrated pamphlet of the Sweeney Todd tale dating from 1842. There is also an early 1900’s illustrated copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the inspiration for Into the Woods.”
You can read the full articles here:
Musical Theatre Review: http://musicaltheatrereview.com/sondheim-society-archive-kingston-university/#.Udm1iVK9Kc1