How to find plays and performing arts material

Are you looking for plays or materials about performing arts such as dance, theatre, performance art, opera and circus? We have manuscripts, photos, programmes, audio and personal archives.

Ballet Scene, The Triumph of Death 1972

Photo: John Rosforth Johnsen

Royal Danish Library's theatre collection is a national archive for staged drama and has both unpublished and published theatre manuscripts. In addition, we have performing arts archives from theatres, circuses, dance companies, organisations and performing artists.

Find and order plays

  1. Click Search in the menu at the top right of the page and unfold the search field.
  2. Search for things like playwright, title or theatre.
  3. Select "manuscripts" under material type in delimited results: All unpublished theatre manuscripts will be displayed in your search result. You can find printed theatre manuscripts by using the delimitation 'books'. Alternatively, you can limit yourself to the 'theatre collection', but if you do, compulsory printed materials will not appear.

Find and order performing arts archives

  1. Click Search in the menu at the top right of the page and unfold the search field.
  2. Search for, for example, theatre/company, performing artist, organisation or title of performance.
  3. Select "manuscripts" under material types in delimited results.

Tip! You can find the newer theatre archives more easily in the library by using the overview.

Find and order theatre programmes

Write to us to order programmes. Remember to state the theatre's name, time period or title of the production when you write to us.

Find and order theatre photographs

Theatre and performing arts photos can be found in several different collections. You should therefore search for them in several places.

A good place to find already digitised photographs of, for example, theatre buildings or ballet is in the digital collections.

You can also find both digitised and physical theatre and performing arts photographs by searching for them. Follow these instructions.

  1. Click Search in the menu at the top of the page and unfold the search field.
  2. Search for, for example, theatre, actor or set-up
  3. Select "images" under material types in delimited results: All digitised images are part of your search result.
  4. Make a new delimitation: Select 'manuscripts' under material type in delimiting results: In some cases the images are combined with other materials. In those cases, order the entire box for review.
  5. Still not finding any relevant images? Then use our overview where you can see material that is not registered in detail. Write to us for help viewing the images.

Find and get access to sound recordings from theatres

Knud Hegermann-Lindencrone's collection (1907-94) consists of recordings from the Copenhagen theatre stages from the years 1948-1988. A total of 1,700 hours of performances from the Royal Danish Opera and 1,000 hours of performances from the private theatres in Copenhagen have been preserved and distributed across 3,300 reel-to-reel tapes that have been digitised.

If you want to know which sound recordings we can offer, use the overview of the recordings. You can search for a title, a role, a creative or a performing artist, or the theatre and get a result by using the command “Ctrl + F”. You can then search for free text in the field that appears in the right corner.

Access to sound recordings

Hegermann-Lindencrone's sound recordings are only available on special computers at the Research reading room in The Black Diamond, Copenhagen, as they are archival material.

Contact the staff and we will help you. You are welcome to bring your own headphones, but we also have some you can borrow.

Remember to clear the rights if you want to use the recordings in a context other than ours.

Did you find what you were looking for?

A small amount of the materials in the collection of plays and performing arts are not registered in our library system, so if you can not find what you are looking for, feel free to contact us.