The Theatre and Performance holdings are awe-inspiring: playbills and programmes, prints and posters, as well as artefacts, costumes, ceramics, etc., etc. There are excellent pages on researching theatre and performance, an overview of the V&A theatre and performance collections and excellent illustrated essays on such topics as 18th century theatre, 19th century theatre, Circus, etc, and a series of subject hubs which include Theatre History, Pantomime (already discussed in an earlier post), Dance, Music Hall and Variety, Circus, and Black Theatre and Performance. These hubs lead to essays, videos, images, biographies, links and reading lists.
Much is digitised and you can search the collections. Initially searches are initiated across the V&A collections, often revealing fascinating and unexpected references, but they can then be narrowed by category, collection, material, name, place, subject, technique, etc. My search for benefit ticket, for example, returned items from Prints and Drawings as well as the Theatre Collections, as did my search for Vauxhall Gardens (screen shot).
A very rich resource.
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