Guide to the papers of Robyn Archer

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MS 7692

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Creator
Archer, Robyn, AO
Title
Papers of Robyn Archer
Date Range
1973-2013
Collection Number
MS 7692
Extent
14.43 metres (78 ms boxes + 1 archives box + 1 medium folio box + 1 large folio box + 1 elephant folio)
Language of Materials
English
Repository
Special Collections (Manuscripts)

Introduction

Scope and Contents

MS 7692 comprises draft scripts, notes, business and personal correspondence, fan mail, photographs, theatre programs, posters, music scores and clippings documenting Archer's musical shows, plays, songs and publications. Also included are the papers of Diana Manson, former partner and personal manager of Archer. These papers mostly relate to Archer's career, but also document the activities of Manson's management companies Black and Blue Inc. and Diehard Productions, including contract negotiation and publicity. Papers relating to Manson's professional association with performers Meryl Tankard, Jeannie Lewis, Jane Clifton and Noni Hazelhurst and with Hessian Records, are in this part of the collection. There is also correspondence, subject files, drafts and files relating to the National Festival of Australian Theatre (79 boxes, 3 fol. boxes).

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is partly available for reference and partly closed. Closed folders are indicated as such throughout the guide.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Robyn Archer, National Library of Australia, [class/series/file number]'.

Provenance

The original consignment was donated under the Cultural Gifts Program by Robyn Archer in four instalments received in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000.

A gouache portrait of Archer by Joan Herlinger is housed in the Pictorial Collection of the National Library, together with a folder of posters advertising Archer's shows.

Biographical Note

DateEvent
Born Robyn Smith in Adelaide
Educated at Enfield High School and began singing and playing guitar
Contracted to the television pop music show Bandstand
Graduated Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Diploma of Education from University of Adelaide
Taught English in secondary schools and part-time singer in clubs and bars
Sang the part of Annie I in South Australian Opera production The seven deadly sins
Wrote first theatre piece Live-could-possibly-be-true-one-day adventures of Superwoman
Brecht & Co recitals in Sydney and Hong Kong
The ladies' choice national concert tour
Performed in To those born later at the National Theatre, London
Kold Komfort Kafe
One woman show Tonight Lola Blau
Release of Tonight: Lola Blau on RCA label
Songs of Sideshow Alley
One woman show A star is torn opened at the Universal Theatre, Melbourne and toured nationally
Rough as guts national concert tour and recording on RCA label
Publication of the Robyn Archer songbook
Publication of Mrs Bottle's burp
The Sydney Critics' Circle Award
Henry Lawson Award
The Pack of Women
Robyn Archer sings Brecht/Robyn Archer at large national concert tour
London opening of A star is torn
Release of EMI recording Robyn Archer sings Brecht, volumes I-II
Cabaret Passé, Cut and Thrust
Assistant writer for Songs for bad times, Channel 4 (United Kingdom)
The conquest of Carmen Miranda, Il Magnifico and The three legends of Kra
Scandals
Robyn Archer national tour
SBS-TV production of The Conquest of Carmen Miranda
One hour TV special for Channel 4 (United Kingdom) Songs for Bad Times
Artistic Counsel, Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney
ABC-TV production of The pack of women and recording on Festival label
ARIA Award for Best Soundtrack (The pack of women)
Akwanso Fly South
Robyn Archer and the Mambologists national concert tour
Co-wrote Poor Johanna and The Hanging of Minnie Thwaites with Judith Rodriguez
International concert tours to Southeast Asia, Vienna, Holland, Mexico and London
ARIA Award for Best Children's Album (Mrs Bottle's burp)
Cafe Fledermaus
Performed in Pierrot Lunaire with Seymour Group, Sydney
Directed The Women's May Day Project for Northern Territory Trades and Labor Council
Paris debut in Out of the East
Publication of Mrs Bottle's absolutely blurtingly beautiful world-beating burp
Australian Artists' Creative Fellowship
Honorary Doctor of the Flinders University, Adelaide
Le Chat Noir with Seymour Group, Sydney
Canadian debut in An evening of Kurt Weill with Symphony Nova Scotia
The Bridge premiered at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Appointed Chair of the Australia Council Community Development Board
See ya next century production with Chrissie Parrott Dance Company
Chair of the Community Cultural Development Board of the Australia Council
Artistic Director of the National Festival of Australian Theatre, Canberra
Commonwealth appointee to the Centenary of Federation Advisory Committee
Australian Women's Network Executive Woman of the Year
Artistic Director of the Adelaide Arts Festival
Advisor on the Australian cultural content for Expo 2OOO in Hanover
Appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia
Appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France
Artistic Director, Melbourne International Arts Festival
Director, Ten Days on the Island, Biennial Festival, Hobart
Appointed Artistic Director for Liverpool's (UK) year as European Capital of Culture in 2008

Item Descriptions

Class MS 7692. Original Instalment, 10 May 1988 (Files 1-191)

Subseries. THE CONQUEST OF CARMEN MIRANDA

Music scores, newspaper cuttings, sketches, 1977 (File 1) - Box 1
Incomplete draft, some correspondence, 1977 (File 2) - Box 1
Drafts and notes (File 3) - Box 1
Notes, newspaper cuttings, synopsis (File 4) - Box 1
Correspondence regarding production of play, 1978-1980 (File 5) - Box 1
Typescripts, 1977-1979 (File 6-9) - Box 1
Typescript and production notes, 1982 (File 10-13) - Box 2
Programs and newspaper cuttings, 1984 (File 14) - Box 2

Subseries. KOLD KOMFORT KAFE

Lyrics, scores and notes for stage performance, 1978 (File 15-18) - Box 2
Lyrics, scores and notes, 1978 (File 19) - Box 3
Programs and press reviews of show, April 1978 (File 20) - Box 3

Subseries. A STAR IS TORN - theatre productions

Australian performance, photocopies of reviews, 1979 (File 21) - Box 3
Typescript for Australian tour, 1980 (File 22) - Box 3
Photocopies of press reviews and articles of show, 1980-1981 (File 23) - Box 3
Working copy, July 1982 (File 24) - Box 3
Photocopies of press reviews, 1982 (File 25-26) - Box 3
Photocopies of press reviews of London performance, 1982-1983 (File 27) - Box 3

Subseries. A STAR IS TORN - book edition

Incomplete draft, 1984 (File 28) - Box 4
Undated typescript (File 29-31) - Box 4
Complete typescript, April 1984 (File 32-34) - Box 4
Copy of 3rd draft typescript and two letters, 1985 (File 35-37) - Box 5
Correspondence, notes and bibliographies for book, 1985-1986 (File 38) - Box 5
Photocopies of photographs proposed for publication in book and some correspondence, including with Virago Press, 1985-1986 (File 39-40) - Box 5
Galley proofs, 1986 (File 41-43) - Box 5
Cuttings of book reviews, 1986 (File 50) - Box 5

Subseries. A STAR IS TORN - miscellaneous papers

Programs, publication, A star is torn record cover, 1980 (File 51-52) - Box 6

Subseries. TONIGHT: LOLA BLAU

English version script, 1974 (File 53) - Box 6
Script, lyrics with annotations (File 54) - Box 6
Programs for Adelaide performance, 1979 (File 55) - Box 6
Photocopies of reviews, 1979 (File 56) - Box 6

Subseries. SONGS FROM SIDESHOW ALLEY

Complete working draft and notes, 1979 (File 57) - Box 8
Notes and script with annotations and one letter (File 58-59) - Box 8
Correspondence, maps and plans for Adelaide Festival, 1980 (File 60) - Box 8
Photocopies of press reviews and other publicity material, 1980 (File 61) - Box 8

Subseries. IL MAGNIFICO

Correspondence, notes and script, 1980-1981 (File 62) - Box 8

Subseries. THE PACK OF WOMEN

Complete typescript, 1981 (File 63-64) - Box 9
Photocopies of press reviews, press releases, programs and photographs from the London performance, 1981 (File 65-66) - Box 9
Ouline of ideas for a cabaret, May 1981 (File 67) - Box 9
Notes towards a first draft, 1982 (File 68) - Box 9
Typescript, notes, lyrics, 1983 (File 69-70) - Box 9
First draft and complete script for Australian tour, 1983, together with some lyrics, music and notes (File 71-72) - Box 10
Lyrics (File 73) - Box 10
Notes relating to Australian tour, including correspondence and photograps recieved whilst on the road, 1983 (File 74-76) - Box 10
Photocopies of press reviews, newspaper cuttings, programs and photographs, 1983 (File 77-78) - Box 10
Video script, 1983 (File 78a) - Box 11
Drafts, notes and some correspondence relating to publication of book, 1985 (File 79-82) - Box 11
Television script, 2nd rough draft, 1985 (File 83) - Box 11
Draft, notes, recording schedule for television play (File 84-85) - Box 11
Newspaper cuttings of book reviews and one record (File 86) - Box 11

Subseries. THREE LEGENDS OF KRA

Typescript, notes and some correspondence, 1983-1985 (File 87) - Box 12
Second draft, 1983 (File 88) - Box 12
Programs, poster and press clippings of reviews, 1984 (File 89) - Box 12

Subseries. CUT AND THRUST

Complete typescript, 1983 (File 90) - Box 12
Incomplete typescript, notes and lyrics (File 91-94) - Box 12
Incomplete typescript, notes and lyrics (File 95) - Box 13
Typescript, notes, lyrics, scores (File 96-99) - Box 13
Correspondence, rehearsal schedule and notes (File 100) - Box 13
Incomplete typescript and press cuttings of reviews, September 1983 (File 101) - Box 13

Subseries. WILD GIRL IN THE HEART

CLOSED (File 102) - Box 13

Subseries. ROBYN ARCHER SINGS BRECHT

CLOSED (File 103) - Box 13
Plan for record of Brecht songs in English, 1982 (File 104) - Box 13
Newspaper cuttings of record reviews, 1982 (File 105) - Box 13

Subseries. ROBYN ARCHER SONGBOOK

Correspondence, lyrics, scores for songbook, together with three copies of the book, 1980 (File 106-108) - Box 14

Subseries. ELIZABETH (SA) HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT

How to write lyrics (File 109) - Box 14
Poems and songs from students (File 110-111) - Box 14
Poems and songs from students (File 112-115) - Box 15
Lyrics, scores, photocopies of photographs, 1977-1978 (File 116) - Box 15
A selection of lyrics written by students at Elizabeth, 1977 (File 117) - Box 15

Subseries. MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS

'Voyages to the Hemispheres', a play for children by Robin Smith, 1973 (File 118) - Box 15
'The Magic Mirrorman' (File 119) - Box 16
'Stairway to the Stars', Robyn Archer's actors notes, 1975-1977 (File 120) - Box 16
Floating Theatre Troupe scores, lyrics, notes, 1976-1977 (File 121) - Box 16
'The Dole Show' script, notes, some correspondence, 1978 (File 122) - Box 16

Subseries. ROBYN ARCHER'S ASIAN TOUR

Itinerary, correspondence, tour programs, music scores, reports (File 123-125) - Box 16
CLOSED (File 126-127) - Box 17

Subseries. MISCELLANEOUS SCRIPTS AND NOTES

CLOSED (File 128) - Box 17
'Captain Lazar' script, notes, and programs, 1980 (File 129) - Box 17
CLOSED (File 130-132) - Box 17
Poor Johanna synopsis, 1981 (File 133) - Box 17
'Strike Bound' correspondence, background material for proposed film production, 1982 (File 134) - Box 17
Sexuality script and correspondence, 1982 (File 135-136) - Box 17
Mrs Bottle's Burp, 1983 (File 137-138) - Box 17
'Beauty and the Beast' - complete script (File 139) - Box 18
'ABC of Nicaragua', a play about the literacy campaign in Nicaragua, 1986 (File 140-142) - Box 18
'Brecht and Company,' Hong Kong Festival, 1986 (File 143-144) - Box 18
'On Parliament Hill', a play in one act, 1987 (File 145-146) - Box 18

Subseries. MISCELLANEOUS SONGS AND LYRICS

Miscellaneous songs and lyrics (File 147-149) - Box 19
Songs and notes (File 150) - Box 19

Subseries. CORRESPONDENCE

CLOSED (File 151-176) - Box 19
Articles, critics' views, photographs (File 177-178) - Box 19
Album of programs and magazines with articles about Archer (File 179) - Box 20

Subseries. NEWSPAPER CUTTINGS

Clippings, 1974-1978 (File 180-181) - Box 20
Clippings of Australian tour, 1985 (File 182) - Box 20
Clippings of Youth Festival, 1985 (File 183) - Box 20
Clippings and photocopies of press reviews (File 184-188) - Box 21
Miscellaneous newspaper cuttings and photocopies of reviews (File 189-190) - Box 21
Miscellaneous newspaper cuttings and photocopies of reviews; copies of publications (File 191) - Box 22
Programs and three posters (File Folio 1) - Elephant-Folio 1

Class MS 7692 (1992 addition). Instalment added 25 March 1992 (Files 1-276)

Subseries. Papers

CLOSED (File 1-43) - Box 22

Subseries. THE CONQUEST OF CARMEN MIRANDA, 1977-1984

Source material (File 44-45) - Box 23
Draft script, 1977 (File 46-47) - Box 23
Annotated script and notes (File 48-49) - Box 23
Rehearsal script, 1983 (File 50) - Box 23
Script, 1984 (File 51) - Box 23
Prompt script, 1984 (File 42) - Box 23
Script alterations, production notes and State Theatre Company of South Australia rehearsal schedules (File 53) - Box 24

Subseries. SONGS FROM SIDESHOW ALLEY, 1979-1987

Correspondence and contracts (File 54) - Box 24
Draft script extracts (File 55) - Box 24
Second working draft, 1979 (File 56-57) - Box 24
Draft scripts (File 58-60) - Box 24
Draft scripts (File 61-64) - Box 25
Detailed script for film adaptation (File 65-67) - Box 25

Subseries. IL MAGNIFICO

Research notes and draft script (File 77) - Box 26
First draft, 1980 (File 71) - Box 26
First half of first draft (File 72-73) - Box 26
Notes, costume sketches, correspondence and press clippings (File 74-76) - Box 26

Subseries. A STAR IS TORN - theatre productions, 1980-1983

General notes and production schedule, Seymour Centre; music extracts; lighting design plan, Princess Theatre, Melbourne (File 77) - Box 27
Script notes and research material (File 78) - Box 27
Script and production notes, 1978 (File 79) - Box 27
Annotated script and production notes (File 80-81) - Box 27
Norwegian script (File 82) - Box 27

Subseries. A STAR IS TORN - sound recording, 1980-1983

Notes, recording schedules, lyrics and correspondence (File 83-84) - Box 27
Time sheets, costings (File 85) - Box 28

Subseries. A STAR IS TORN - book edition

First draft, 1984 (File 86-88) - Box 28

Subseries. THE PACK OF WOMEN - theatre production, 1981-1986

UK prompt copy, 1981 (File 89) - Box 28
Australian prompt copy, 1983 (File 90) - Box 28
Press clippings, reviews (File 91) - Box 28
Slides (File 92) - Box 28
Videorecording of understudies (File 93) - Box 28

Subseries. THE PACK OF WOMEN - television production, 1981-1986

Drafts, 1983-1985 (File 94) - Box 29
Stage plans (File 95) - Box 29
Graphics (File 96) - Box 29
Fan mail and quiz (File 97) - Box 29

Subseries. THE PACK OF WOMEN - sound recording, 1981-1986

Draft running order and lyrics (File 98) - Box 29

Subseries. THE PACK OF WOMEN - book edition, 1981-1986

Galley proofs, Chapters 1-18 (File 99-101) - Box 29
Illustrations (File 102) - Box 29

Subseries. MRS BOTTLE'S BURP - theatre production, 1982-1990

Notes and correspondence, including second draft script and photographs (File 103-105) - Box 30

Subseries. MRS BOTTLE'S BURP - book edition, 1982-1990

Notes and correspondence (File 106-107) - Box 30
A copy of Mrs Bottle's Absolutely Blurtingly Beautiful World Beating Burp, published by Penguin, Melbourne, 1990 (File 108) - Box 30

Subseries. MRS BOTTLE'S BURP - sound recording, 1982-1990

Notes and correspondence (File 109-110) - Box 30

Subseries. MRS BOTTLE'S BURP - video production, 1982-1990

Notes and filming schedule for 'Eating on the Plane' (File 111) - Box 31

Subseries. THE HANGING OF MINNIE THWAITES, 1983

Research material and notes (File 112) - Box 31
Outline and first rough draft, 1983 (File 113) - Box 31
Lyrics and related correspondence (File 114) - Box 31

Subseries. THE LEGEND OF KRA, 1983

First draft (File 115) - Box 31
Second draft (File 116) - Box 31

Subseries. CUT AND THRUST CABARET, 1983

Script (File 117) - Box 31

Subseries. POOR JOHANNA, 1984-1991

Outline (1984) and first draft (1987) (File 118) - Box 31
Draft script and notes (File 119) - Box 32
Annotated first draft (1987); correspondence with Dale Spender and galleys of Penguin publication Heroines, edited by Spender (1991) (File 120) - Box 32

Subseries. SCANDALS, 1985

Draft playbill (File 121) - Box 32
CLOSED (File 122-127) - Box 32
Script notes and research material (File 128-129) - Box 32
Notes and related correspondence, including production meeting minutes, television production call sheet, annotated script extracts, 1988 (File 130) - Box 32
Production and script notes together with 1988 Adelaide Festival brochures (File 131) - Box 32
CLOSED (File 132-135) - Box 32
Photographic proofs and two sound cassettes containing recordings associated with the show (File 136) - Box 33

Subseries. THE COLONY, 1989-1990

Notes and correspondence, 1989-1990 (File 137-138) - Box 33
Annotated first draft, together with CLOSED papers (File 139) - Box 33

Subseries. PIERROT LUNAIRE, 1990

Correspondence, playbills and contract (File 140) - Box 33

Subseries. CAFE FLEDERMAUS, 1990

CLOSED (File 141-143) - Box 33
Correspondence and notes (File 144) - Box 33
Correspondence and notes, including draft contract (File 145) - Box 33
Correspondence and notes, including early script notes and commissioning agreements (File 146) - Box 33
First draft and notebook (File 147) - Box 34
Second draft (File 148-149) - Box 34
Publicity material (File 150) - Box 34
Press clippings (File 151) - Box 34

Subseries. STRONG WITH THE WOMEN, 1990

Correspondence and notes, together with some photographs (File 152-154) - Box 34
Correspondence and notes, together with some photographs (File 155-156) - Box 35

Subseries. LE CHAT NOIR, 1991

Notes and correspondence (File 157) - Box 35

Subseries. OTHER PERFORMANCES

World Expo 88 performance, 1988 (File 158) - Box 35
Notes and correspondence relating to XVI Festival Internacional Cervantino, Mexico, 1988 (File 159-161) - Box 35
Notes and papers of the Joint Seminar of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and the Office of the Status of Women, 1991 (File 162) - Box 35
Labour Day Picnic, Glenorchy, Tasmania, 1991 (File 163) - Box 36
Speech notes for the Victorian Women's Trust Fund Raising Dinner, November 1991 (File 164) - Box 36

Subseries. MISCELLANEOUS SCRIPTS AND WRITINGS

CLOSED (File 165) - Box 36
Photocopied typescript of 'Tonight : Lola Blau' by Georg Kreisler (File 166) - Box 36
'Such is Life' script by Peter Barclay, Stuart McCreery, Ken Moffat (File 167) - Box 36
Draft copy of 'Paradise Now and Then' by Noel Greig (File 168) - Box 36
'First Ade' recording (File 169) - Box 36
Miscellaneous papers (File 170) - Box 36

'Steps in the Sand' (1978)

Lyrics of 'Halleluiah I'm a Bum' (1980)

Music and costume notes for Jack Punt

Speech by Archer to the National Press Club, Canberra (1990)

Writing notes, including 'Pip Pip', 'My Australia', 'Politics of the Musical' and the 'Gentle Art of Paperfolding' (File 171) - Box 36
Miscellaneous notes and research material (File 172) - Box 36
Miscellaneous notes and research material (File 173) - Box 37
Press clippings (File 174-175) - Box 37
CLOSED (File 176-276) - Box 37
CLOSED (File Folio 2) - Folio-Box 2

Class MS 7692 (1996 addition). Instalment added 24 April 1996 (Files 1-130)

Subseries. Papers

CLOSED (File 1-120) - Box 37

Subseries. TYPESCRIPT SHOW DRAFTS ON COMPUTER DISK

Printouts of drafts of 'Cafe Fledermaus' (File 121-122) - Box 38
CLOSED (File 123) - Box 38
Printouts of drafts of 'The Bridge' (File 124-126) - Box 38
CLOSED (File 127) - Box 38
Printouts of drafts of 'Le Chat Noir' (File 128-129) - Box 38
CLOSED (File 130) - Box 38
CLOSED (File Folio 3) - Folio-Box 3

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