Catalogue ReferenceD/EX1151
TitleRecords of the Progress Theatre, Reading
DescriptionThe Progress Theatre Archive has accumulated over a period of time and originates from a variety of sources. Some records were found in the theatre building, whereas others have been deposited by individual threatre members from their private collections. However, all the records in the Archive are regarded collectively as the property of the Theatre rather than of individual members.

The catalogue is divided into numbered sections, as shown under Arrangement of the Catalogue. Where possible these have been arranged by season (i.e. from September/October of one year to July of the next). This has not been done where the sections include records such as large bundles of papers, which are not suited to being divided and arranged in this way.

Note: the seasons in sections 2 and 3 do not always follow chronologically because the records have been catalogued in the order in which they were deposited rather than the order in which they were created.

Summary

POSTERS AND HANDBILLS OF PRODUCTIONS : posters and handbills, 1947-2006.

PHOTOGRAPHS OF PRODUCTIONS : photographs, 1947-2005.

PROGRAMMES OF PRODUCTIONS : programmes, 1947-2007.

PRESS REVIEWS: 1950-2004.

MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS OF PRODUCTIONS : directors' notes and scripts, 1954-1994 (includes script of anthology in which actor Kenneth Branagh appeared, 1978); drawings and plans of set designs, [1964]-1994; licences for plays, 1954-1959; list of productions, 1947-1996; photographs of set building, 2001.

MINUTES : management committee, 1948-2003 (incomplete); finance and general purposes committee, 1968-1996 (incomplete); miscellaneous committees, sub-committees and other meetings, 1960-1999; annual general meeting, 1959-2006.

FINANCIAL PAPERS : ledger, 1973-1976; detailed expenditure sheets from various productions, 1978-1984

GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE PAPERS : theatre constitution, 1976, 1984, 1990(?); theatre rules and regulations, 1950s; job descriptions for various officers and committees, c.1970-1993; notes on management of the theatre, 1979; miscellaneous correspondence, 1964-1994.

BUILDING DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE : planning applications, plans, elevations, correspondence, photographs and other papers, c1950s-1991

MARKETING AND PUBLICITY : leaflets and booklets publishing information for potential members and sponsors, c1950s-1972; correspondence seeking support from private individuals including the Prince of Wales, Robert Hardy and Ronald Pickup, 1968; copies of correspondence from Michael Redgrave, Sybil Thorndike and J B Priestley, 1949, and Bernard Miles, 1956

MEMBERS' COMMUNICATIONS : newsletters and copies of newsletters, 1947-1973 (incomplete); Progress Reports and Members’ Diaries, 1956-1962, 1967, 1973-2001; Progress magazines, 1991-1993; Curtain Up, 1993-2007; Members’ newsletters, 2002-2007.

TRUSTEES : draft lease of theatre between Reading Co-operative Society and trustees, 1955; draft declaration of trust by trustees relating to financial management of theatre building, 1955; correspondence, 1979-1984.

FRIENDS OF PROGRESS : Friends' Committee minutes, 1984-1991; minutes of the Friends' Annual General Meeting, 1985-1990; associate members' newsletters, 1971-1984; Friends' newsletters, 1985-1992; draft of Friends' constitution, [1984]; rules, [c.1970]; Friends' promotional leaflets, [1980s]; correspondence, 1984-1990.

YOUTH GROUPS :
Student Group: committee minutes, 1963-1980 (incomplete); statements of accounts and balance sheets, 1969-1978 (incomplete); constitution, 1976.
Children’s Group: report of meeting, 1982.
Reading Youth Theatre: minutes of liaison meetings with Progress, 1983-1984; correspondence concerning relationship with Progress, 1981-1984.

LITTLE THEATRE GUILD : programme and discussion papers from the 107th Little Theatre Guild conference held at Progress, 1981.

SPLINTERS THEATRE COMPANY : promotional literature, including brief history of company and list of plays performed, 1986; correspondence, 1986.

'SOUVENIR' SECTION : albums and scrapbooks of original photographs, newspaper cuttings, programmes and correspondence, relating to Progress productions and events, 1947-1975; loose newspaper cuttings relating to various events at Progress, c.1950s-1992; items relating to the opening of the Pat Tyler Entrance, 1996; photographs collected by Fred Partridge, [c.1952]-1997; programme for ’40 Years On’, 1987.

MISCELLANEOUS : play scripts and lyrics written by various Progress members, 1966-1981; copy of 'Anthem of Progress', c.1960s; photographs, correspondence and newspaper cuttings of preview of ‘Dead Again’ at the Hexagon, 1991; photographs of Progress members, c.1970s-1994; programmes for various festivals, 1949-1958; photographs of building work, 1991, and summer clean up, 2000.
Date1947-2007
RepositoryBerkshire Record Office (code: GB 005)
LevelSub-Fonds
Extent18 vols, 457 bdls, 256 docs
Admin HistoryProgress Theatre was founded in 1946 and staged its first production early in 1947. For the first few years of its life it had several temporary homes in Reading, until 1951 when it moved to its present day site in The Mount, off Christchurch Road.

Progress has an extensive history as one of the very few long established full-time amateur theatres in Reading; it has staged world premieres and highly innovative plays not normally seen on the amateur stage. It is also the theatre where actor Kenneth Branagh spent a period in the 1970s as a student member, prior to his entry into RADA
AcquisitionDeposited in April 1992 (acc 5007), October 1992 (acc 5102, acc 5103, acc 5104), May 1995 (acc 5624), October 1997 (acc 6112); May 2001 (acc. 6759); September 2002 (acc. 7058); February 2004 (acc. 7341); September 2004 (acc. 7492); November 2006 (acc. 7912); October 2007 (acc. 8109)

Schedule of accessions

Acc. 5007: 1/1-99

Acc. 5102: 2/1-85

Acc. 5103: 3/1-15

Acc. 5104: 3/16-30

Acc. 5624: 6/1/1-6; 6/2/1; 6/3/1-6; 6/4/1-3; 7/1-2; 8/1-6; 9/1-9; 10/1-7; 11/1/1-4; 11/2/1-2; 11/3/1; 12/1-3; 13/1/1; 13/2/1; 13/3/1-2; 13/4/1-5; 14/1/1-5; 14/2/1; 14/3/1-4; 15/1-3; 16/1-3; 17/1-7; 18/1-4

Acc. 6112: 2/86-101; 3/31-67; 5/1-6; 9/10-11; 17/8-11

Acc. 6759: 1/100, 101, 103-109, 111, 112, 114-136, 138-175, 177-181; 3/68; 3/69/1, 2, 4, 5; 3/70/1-7, 10, 11; 3/71-78; 3/79/1-5; 4/1-40; 4/41/1-9; 4/42-45; 4/49-50; 4/51/1-6, 9; 5/7/1-2; 6/1/7, 9; 6/4/5-10; 11/1/5/1-6, 8-32; 11/2/3-9; 11/2/10/1; 17/12/1-3

Acc. 7058: 1/102; 1/110; 1/113; 1/137; 1/176; 1/182-193; 2/102-128; 3/69/3, 6; 3/70/8, 9; 3/79/6-9; 3/80-82; 4/41/10; 4/46/1; 4/47/1-2; 4/48/1-2; 4/51/7-8, 10-12; 5/8-9; 6/1/8, 10; 6/3/7-11; 6/4/4, 5, 11; 11/1/5/7; 11/1/6; 11/2/10/2-3; 11/2/11/1; 18/5-6

Acc. 7341: 1/193A; 1/194; 3/83; 2/79/9; 2/80/11; 2/83/2-11; 2/100/4; 2/134-155; 3/83; 6/1/13/1-2; 11/1/7; 11/2/11/2-3; 11/2/12-14; 11/2/15/1; 18/7-8

Acc. 7492: 2/1/2-4; 2/7A; 2/9/3-4; 2/12/3-8; 2/13/7; 2/14/5-7; 2/15/3-6; 2/16/3-9; 2/17/7; 2/18/3-4; 2/19/6-10; 2/20/6; 2/21/4; 2/22/7; 2/23/6-7; 2/24/12-13; 2/24A/1-5; 2/25/3; 2/26/3-5; 2/27/3-5; 2/28/5-8; 2/29/6-7; 2/30/4-7; 2/31/1-2; 2/32/10-12; 2/33/2-3; 2/34/6-13; 2/35/3-4; 2/36/2-5; 2/37/4-7; 2/38/3-6; 2/39/7-8; 2/40/3; 2/41/2-4; 2/42/2-8; 2/43/3; 2/43A/1-3; 2/44/3-4; 2/45/2-5; 2/45A/1-3; 2/46/3-4; 2/47/2-5; 2/48/3-6; 2/49/3-6; 2/51/2-4; 2/53/2-3; 2/87/5-6; 2/88/10; 2/89/4-5; 2/90/3; 2/91/3-5; 2/92/4-6; 2/93/2-4; 2/128/10-42; 2/129; 3/8/3; 3/31/3-5; 3/43/5; 3/69/7; 3/91-94; 5/10-13, 15-16; 11/1/12; 11/2/15/2-3; 11/2/16; 11/2/17/1; 17/12/4; 17/18-19; 18/10-14

Acc. 7912: 1/110/2; 1/117/2; 1/121/2; 1/122/2; 1/123/3; 1/124/2; 1/126/2; 1/127/2; 1/129/2; 1/130/2; 1/131/2; 1/132/2; 1/133/2; 1/134/2; 1/135/2; 1/136/2; 1/137/2; 1/141/2; 1/181/2; 1/195-1/236; 2/131-133; 3/78A; 3/84-89; 3/95/2; 5/18; 11/1/8-10; 17/13-17; 18/5/6; 18/9, 15-17

Acc. 8109: 1/156/1; 1/158/2; 1/159/2; 3/77A; 3/90; 3/95/1; 5/14, 17; 6/1/8 (part); 6/1/11-12; 6/1/13/3-4; 6/1/14; 6/2/2; 6/3/12-14; 6/4/12; 11/1/11
ArrangementArrangement of the catalogue
Productions
1 Posters and handbills of productions
2 Photographs of productions
3 Programmes of productions
4 Press reviews of productions
5 Miscellaneous records of productions

Theatre Administration
6 Minutes
7 Financial papers
8 General administrative papers
9 Building development and maintenance
10 Marketing and publicity
11 Members' communications
12 Trustees
13 Friends of Progress
14 Youth groups
15 Little Theatre Group
16 Splinters Theatre Company
17 'Souvenir' section
18 Miscellaneous
Related MaterialRecords in other collections

D/EX1485/11: Papers of Albert Cusden, founder of Progress Theatre, 1947-1953
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