University of Leicester eBulletin

Leicester's Heritage Showcased in America

November 2002

University of Leicester’s Library Special Collections helps in production of Orton's play

Items from the University of Leicester Library Special Collections have been featured in America where the work of Leicester-born playwright Joe Orton was recently staged.

The University of Leicester Library houses the Joe Orton Collection - an archive of material by, or relating to, the life and career of the dramatist.

The McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, put on a production of Orton's play ‘Loot’, and photographs from the Orton collection at the University were used to illustrate the theatre programme and an associated theatre magazine.

Andrew Lacey, Special Collections Librarian, said: "The Joe Orton Collection consists of manuscripts, letters and other original material written, compiled or collected by the Leicester-born Joe Orton (1933-1967), plus correspondence and memorabilia received and collected by members of the Orton family.

Joe Orton pic on magazine cover

"Many of the University of Leicester Library’s users are spread across the world, particularly as many of our students engage in distance learning, and it is interesting that our resources also have an international appeal."

The Orton Collection came to the University of Leicester after it launched a £60,000 appeal in 1997 - the University's Jubilee Year - to preserve the documents and make them available to scholars. The bid to preserve a piece of literary history for the nation was launched by a performance of one of Orton's plays, What The Butler Saw.

The University of Leicester also has a Rare Book Collection, examples from which are regularly displayed on the ground floor of the University Library.

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: November 2002
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