Roundabout's archive "will permanently document the company's illustrious 43-year production history as well as provide a resource for the theatre community, Roundabout's audience and the general public."
The archive will be located at Roundabout's administrative offices at 231 West 39th Street. Tiffany Nixon has been hired as archivist. Plans for public access to the archive will be announced at a later date.
According to statement from the New York City troupe that operates venues on and off Broadway: "During the last 43 years Roundabout has become one of the country's largest non-profit theatre organizations, yet has no central repository for its records. Having re-located several times since 1965, many historical items have moved to private hands, been collected by souvenir hunters, been thrown out or given away. The materials that exist are scattered among Roundabout's buildings, theatres and off-site storage — and are in need of urgent archival care and preservation.
"With the establishment of an archive Roundabout aims to not only document and preserve Roundabout's history but also provide a resource to the theatre community and to the general public. Materials such as theatrical documents, manuscripts, letters, publications, photos and memorabilia will be carefully preserved and hopefully aid in recording the history of the American theatre movement."
Roundabout artistic director Todd Haimes said in a statement, "We are so grateful to Shelby White and the Leon Levy Foundation for their amazing support of this archive project. We are confident that preserving our company's history will be invaluable to our audiences and the theatre community in New York. And we are hopeful this permanent archive will become a useful guide to our part of American Theatre's history." White, founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation, stated, "The Roundabout Theatre has built a rich and illustrious history over its four decades as a staple of the New York city theatre community. Leon and I attended Roundabout performances and had a subscription for over three decades, enjoying performances of Shaw and Oscar Wilde and such stars as Uta Hagen in the early days. The Leon Levy Foundation is pleased to help provide a permanent archive that will preserve and make available the important records of the Roundabout to students, scholars, and the general public."
The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from the estate of Leon Levy, an investor with a longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The Foundation's overarching goal is "to support scholarship at the highest level, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large."
The Roundabout Theatre Company's 2008-09 season includes Rodgers & Hart’s Pal Joey, starring Stockard Channing, Matthew Risch & Martha Plimpton, directed by Joe Mantello; Lisa Loomer's Distracted featuring Cynthia Nixon, directed by Mark Brokaw; Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler starring Mary-Louise Parker, Michael Cerveris, Paul Sparks and Peter Stormare, directed by Ian Rickson; Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist, starring Matthew Broderick, directed by David Grindley and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot starring (in order of speaking) Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman, David Strathairn, directed by Anthony Page.
Roundabout's hot production of The 39 Steps made its second Broadway transfer to the Helen Hayes Theatre on Jan. 21, 2009.
For information, visit www.roundabouttheatre.org.