Large private musical theatre collection left to the nation


It has been announced that Rexton S Bunnett, the creator of the UK’s largest private collection of musical theatre-related memorabilia, is to leave the collection to the nation.

Bunnett, a lifelong musical theatre enthusiast, has created Overtures: The Bunnett-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust, to ensure the future of the collection. The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) will be responsible for public access and the archive will formally transfer to the V&A upon Bunnett’s death.

The press releases says, "Started in the late 1950s by Bunnett and his late partner John Muir, the archive is a treasure-trove of recordings, posters, programmes, scripts, books, photographs, designs and other memorabilia documenting the evolution of the musical since the 19th century in the UK and on Broadway. It contains over 25,000 items including the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas, original artwork from many turn-of-the-century shows and a copy of Noel Coward’s vocal score of his Bitter Sweet signed by him and the full cast. Bunnett and Muir also developed their own research library which continues to grow."

Rexton Bunnett said: “My partner John Muir and I spent decades putting this collection together to act as a comprehensive record of this crucial sector of the performing arts in Britain. I now want to ensure that the collection remains together and can be made available to the public and specialist researchers. Musicals are not only hugely popular and great entertainment but are often an accurate reflection of broader changes within society which can be seen is shows such as Me and My Girl and Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be. The commercial success of musicals is central to a thriving performance economy in London’s Theatreland - which in turn is crucial to London’s tourism.”

More details at: overtures.name

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