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National Theatre Blog

Treasures from the Archive

Mask from The Oresteia

It's International Archives Day on Saturday 9th June.

To celebrate, some of our wonderful archives team have picked out their favourite items for you.


Mask from the Oresteia and Costume Bibles

Chosen by Jennie Borzykh, Trainee Archivist

'I have chosen a Fury mask from The Oresteia (1981), which was made by Theatre Designer Jocelyn Herbert. We have most of the masks she did for this production and they are so creative, this Fury's hair is made out of string and some of them have hair made out of shoe laces. They are all fantastically creepy. This is a part of a much larger collection representing her work - we also have over 6000 drawings, her notebooks, models, research papers and much more.


I've also chosen costume bibles, from The Light Princess (2013) and Wind in the Willows (1990) in this case. We have costume bibles, which include sketches, fabric samples, photographs and notes going right back to 1963 and still collect them for every show. I love them because they are so beautiful to look at and are a very popular resource for budding designers and fashion students.'


Platform Tapes

Chosen by Malcolm Mathieson, Digital Archives Assistant

'For my favourite archive item I've chosen our collection of Platform audio recordings. Platforms usually take the form of discussions with key individuals involved with a particular production and take place in front of an audience at the NT. We've recorded platforms on tape (and latterly digitally) at the NT since 1984 so have built up an amazing collection of recordings with a whole range of individuals involved in theatre, from internationally renowned actors, writers and directors to NT staff. Platforms provide a fascinating insight into the lives of productions and the performers and creatives involved in their creation.' 


Equus Poster

Chosen by Anastasios Tzitzikos, Archive Assistant

'My selection is the poster of Equus (Old Vic, 1973). Poster designed by Moura-George/Briggs with an illustration made by Gilbert Lesser. Different from other posters that often showed actors performing; I found this poster attractive and expressionistically powerful in its simplicity. It captivates someone’s eye immediately.'


Come and see the archive for yourself.