Arts Centre Melbourne is home to the Australian Performing Arts Collection – Australia’s largest and most important collection of performing arts history and traditions. We collect in the areas of Circus, Dance, Opera, Music and Theatre.
About the APAC Blog
This blog is brought to you by our dedicated team of Curators, Registrars and Exhibitions staff in the Collections department at Arts Centre Melbourne – we’re thrilled to be able to share our passion for the Australian Performing Arts Collection with you here on our blog!
It’s a place for Collections staff and volunteers to share new discoveries and interesting facts that don’t always make it onto Arts Centre Melbourne’s main website. We aim to share with you a glimpse behind the scenes at the fascinating work that goes on in the Performing Arts Collection everyday, but we’d also love to hear from you! This blog is also a forum for you to share your thoughts and insights with us, ask questions and become involved. The views expressed on this blog do not always represent the official views of Arts Centre Melbourne – they are the views of the contributing authors alone.
For all the regular information about Arts Centre Melbourne’s Collections, research service, online catalogue and details about all the events and performances held at Arts Centre Melbourne please visit our main website here.
About the Australian Performing Arts Collection
As the official national archive to the circus industry, Arts Centre Melbourne’s Australian 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.
The theatre collection is the largest and most diverse part of the Australian Performing Arts Collection. It represents many aspects of traditional and contemporary theatre including drama, comedy, magic, musical theatre, puppetry, vaudeville and variety.
The 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.
Our commitment to collecting and documenting popular performance is well illustrated by the music collection. The history of rock and pop forms the core of the music collection with photographs and costumes providing a potent reminder of live performances. Popular music from the 1960s to today is well represented through posters, photographs and costumes donated by performers of the day. 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, the personal archives of Nick Cave, and the extraordinary Kylie Minogue Costume Collection.
The 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 extensive programme and photography collections.
About the Art Collection
Arts Centre Melbourne is also home to a significant collection of paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photography and textiles. The Public Art Collection celebrates performing arts through the work of some of Australia’s most significant visual artists.
Now comprising over 800 works, the current collecting focus builds upon the original intention – to acquire works that explore the intersection between the visual and the performing arts. In particular the collection looks to the ways in which artists are inspired by music, dance, theatre or opera and the creativity of performance.
Donating to the Collections
Are you thinking about donating material to the Australian Performing Arts Collection? This post about our Donation Guidelines explains the process which is applied to all gifts to the collection.
You can discover a wealth of information about these collections on our main website where you can browse our online catalogue.