National Theatre Archive is a repository of records and memorabilia
connected with theatre as well as some other historic
playhouses in Washington, DC. Materials from theatres
established after 1950 can be found in the Washingtonian
Division of the DC Public Library.
Contributions from patrons are welcomed. We collect
old programs (prior to 1950 unless signed), posters, clippings,
playbills, scrapbooks or photographs from the National or
other Washington theatres.
Your donation of material to the National Theatre Corporation,
a 501.c.3. not-for-profit organization, is tax-deductible.
Due to space constraints and security considerations the archive
is not open to the public at this time. However, our staff
and volunteer archivists make every effort to answer research
A fee of $1.00 per page is charged for photocopies
of archival records, plus $1 postage (or more if a substantial
weight is involved). Checks should be made payable to
The National Theatre Corporation, and must be received in advance
of our making and mailing copies
Our archivists continue to enlarge and improve our very extensive
History Timeline on the
Internet to make it ever more complete.This
evolving document in-progress lists casts, directors, designers
and producers for many of the attractions which have played
the National over 175 years. Seeing
Stars, a catalogue of many of the celebrities who
have been connected with the theatre as performers, patrons,
lecturers and employees is also being developed for the Internet. Request more information about the National Theatre Archive,
HISTORY OF THE ARCHIVE
The National Theatre Archive was established in 1975 by General
Manager Rick Schneider, as the commercially-managed
National Theatre became a not-for-profit organization. Before
Mr. Schneider began, not even a playbill or history file of
any size existed at the theatre. Miss Helen Teske, who was working
in the box office at the time, made major contributions of time
and of materials from her personal collection of theatre memorabilia.
Richard Kidwell, Robert Pitts, Edward Platt and many others
also made valuable contributions. Miss Teske, Mr. Schneider,
and other volunteers sorted through the materials and began
a timeline of performers and performances which would
eventually stretch from the opening performance in 1835 to the
Other theatre lovers came forward with programs, posters, photographs,
books, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, handbills and other
memorabilia, most from the 20th century, but with other valued
treasures from the 19th century.
Thomas Shorebird served as Archivist of the collection from
the mid 1980s to the mid-1990s, and made major contributions
toward the physical and digital organization of the collection.
Today the archive is under the care of a cadre of volunteer
archivists, who continue the work of receiving, sorting, processing
and cataloguing materials under the direction of the Corporate
can be sent to: National Theatre Corporation
1321 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004
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The National Theatre Corporation, a 501.c3 nonprofit institution managed
by The Shubert Organization.
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