Our collection brings to life the RSC’s history in Stratford-upon-Avon.

A brown and gold cape with an elaborate collar decorated with fake leaves and feathers
Cloak worn by Dame Peggy Ashcroft as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, 1953. Directed by Glen Byam Shaw and designed by Motley. RSC Museum collection.

Started by Charles Edward Flower in 1879, the RSC collection is one of the most significant Shakespeare and theatre collections in the world.

Material spans from the 1600s to the present day and offers an insight into the history of performance, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Stories of often ground-breaking performances remind us of developing stagecraft, how performance has changed over time and the early stage careers of familiar screen actors such as Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart and David Tennant.

Museum Collection

Costumes, fine art, props and sculpture provide important evidence of how interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays have changed, and how theatrical and costume design have developed over time.

You can explore items from our museum collection in person in our award-winning exhibition The Play’s The Thing.

Our oil painting collection can be accessed online through the Art UK online catalogue.

If you have a question about costume, fine art, props or sculpture in our museum collection contact collection@rsc.org.uk.


Archive and Library

Photographs, posters, programmes, production records, stage management records, promptbooks, music scores, rare early printed books as well as film and sound recordings are just some of the items held in our archive and library. 

You can explore our archive and library through the Discover Shakespeare online catalogue or by visiting the Reading Room service at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon.

If you have a question about our archive and library contact collections@shakespeare.org.uk.