2 March 2022

On Stage: Spotlight on our Performing Arts

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portrait of Sir Robert Helpmann as Oberon

See Houston Rogers, Portrait of Sir Robert Helpmann as Oberon at the National Library of Australia’s exhibition On Stage: Spotlight on Our Performing Arts. Photo: NLA.

Let the National Library entertain you when On Stage: Spotlight on Our Performing Arts opens in Autumn. There’s no business like show business, and this exhibition brings Australia’s performing arts history into the limelight.

The Australian stage has seen it all, from theatre, opera and dance to musicals, magic and hip hop, featuring household names like Sir Robert Helpmann, Dame Nellie Melba, Peter Allen, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Tim Minchin and the Hilltop Hoods.

On Stage also provides a backstage pass to the action behind the scenes, showcasing perspectives on stage direction, costume design, scripts, contracts and musical scores used by performers.

Presented together for the first time and drawing exclusively from the collections of the National Library, the exhibition features items that have never before been on display. Other highlights include the earliest surviving Australian printed document, selections from the JC Williamson theatre archives, and other contemporary live music and theatre posters.

Whether you prefer to take a front row seat, tread the boards, or stagedive into the moshpit, there is something for every fan to see. Join the Library during your visit, and receive a special souvenir Library Card featuring a portrait of Sir Robert Helpmann.

The exhibition opens on Friday 4 March, and will run until Sunday 7 August, exclusive to Canberra. Entry is free, no booking required.

On Stage: Spotlight on Our Performing Arts was curated by Dr Susannah Helman, NLA Curator of Rare Books and Music.

The details

What: On Stage: Spotlight on our Performing Arts exhibition
When: Friday 4 March to Sunday 7 August 2022
Where: Exhibition Gallery, National Library of Australia
Cost: Free entry, no booking required.

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