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Papers of Robyn Archer, 1957-2013 [manuscript]
Bib ID 1709153
Format ManuscriptManuscript
Archer, Robyn, 1948-
Related Online
Access Conditions Part available for research; part requires permission for research; part not available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1957-2013] 
approximately 59 m. 

MS 7692 comprises draft scripts, notes, business and personal correspondence, fan mail, photographs, theatre programs, posters, music scores and clippings documenting Archer's musical shows, plays, songs and publications. Also included are the papers of Diana Manson, former partner and personal manager of Archer. These papers mostly relate to Archer's career, but also document the activities of Manson's management companies Black and Blue Inc. and Diehard Productions, including contract negotiation and publicity. Papers relating to Manson's professional association with performers Meryl Tankard, Jeannie Lewis, Jane Clifton and Noni Hazelhurst and with Hessian Records, are in this part of the collection. There is also correspondence, subject files, drafts and files relating to the National Festival of Australian Theatre (78 boxes, 1 archives box, 1 medium folio box, 1 large folio box, 1 elephant folio).

The Acc00.249 instalment comprises correspondence, notes, faxes, flyers, programs, cuttings, whole newspapers and scripts. Subjects include the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Festival of Perth, 1996, Sydney Mardi Gras, Sydney Gay Games, 2002, the Centenary of Federation Advisory Committee, and seminars and launches (16 cartons).

The Acc05.010 instalment comprises papers, brochures, posters, publications, videos, spool tapes and cassettes (123 boxes, 2 rolls of posters, 3 folio items).

The Acc06.203 instalment comprises papers accrued during Robyn Archer's role as director of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture festival in 2008, and other festivals in Australia. The papers include notebooks, journals and diaries (circa 2000-2005), correspondence, newspaper cuttings and ephemera (17 boxes, 1 carton, 4 fol. boxes).

The Acc10.175 instalment comprises audiovisual material relating to a number of artistic projects with which Archer has been involved. Includes audio cassettes, video cassettes, and sound and film recordings on tape reels (4 cartons, 4 folio boxes).

The Acc11.090 instalment comprises Papers documenting Robyn Archer's professional life as a performer and arts administrator. They include news cuttings, ephemera, publications, correspondence, reports, song lyrics, notes, photographs, artwork and audiovisual material. Events represented in the collection include festivals in Melbourne and Adelaide, and the Canberra Centenary. There are lyrics, a synopsis, notes and sound recordings relating to a number of Robyn Archer shows and albums, including Club Nocturne, A Colonial Cabaret, Wild Girl in the Heart, Leave the Atom Alone, Rough as Guts and Robyn Archer Sings Brecht. In addition there is: a small amount of early writing by Archer, including her first hand-written story (c.1957), notes, lyrics and artwork; and a proposal document for Archer's website with associated papers (9 boxes, 7 folio boxes, 4 map folios).

The Acc13.127 instalment comprises papers relating to the career of Robyn Archer between 1990 and 2002 and to her role as Creative Director, Centenary of Canberra, 2013 (59 boxes, 5 fol. boxes).


Singer, actor, writer, director and arts administrator. Robyn Archer has toured widely in Australia and overseas as a performer and festival director. Her career has encompassed writing and performing her own work, interpreting classic songs, collaboration with music and dance companies and as artistic director of arts festivals. She has written several works for theatre, including Songs from sideshow alley and Cafe Fledermaus, as well as producing one woman shows, such as A star is torn. Archer has also written and adapted pieces for TV including Songs for bad times, Cabaret and The pack of women.

She has been involved in stage, video and sound adaptations of her children's book Mrs Bottle's absolutely blurtingly beautiful world beating burp (1990). As a singer, Archer has recorded a number of albums. The lyrics and music of some of her popular songs were published in The Robyn Archer songbook (1980). Archer has held the position of director for a number of festivals and cultural events including the National Festival of Australian Theatre, Canberra; Adelaide Festival; Melbourne International Arts Festival; Liverpool European Capital of Culture, UK; The Light in Winter, Melbourne; and the Centenary of Canberra. She holds honorary doctorate degrees from Flinders University and the University of Sydney and has had several honours bestowed upon her including, in 2000, being appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her contribution to the development of cultural life in Australia. Further biographical information available online at


Manuscript reference no.: MS 7692, MS Acc00.249, MS Acc05.010, MS Acc06.203, MS Acc10.175, MS Acc11.090, MS Acc13.127.

Related Material A gouache portrait of Robyn Archer by Joan Herlinger; Located at; National Library of Australia Pictures collection PIC R10769 LOC 3874-B.  Robyn Archer monologue and interview with Michelle Potter in the Esso Performing Arts collection; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 2551. 
Source of Acquisition Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program. 
Index/Finding Aid Note Partial finding aid available online (for the MS 7692 component). 
Subjects Archer, Robyn, 1948- -- Archives.  |  Manson, Diana -- Archives.  |  Singers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Women singers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Entertainers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Women entertainers -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Theatrical producers and directors -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Arts administrators -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Theater -- Australia.  |  Performing arts -- Australia.  |  Art festivals -- Australia.  |  Australian Capital Territory -- Canberra -- Centennial celebrations, etc.
Time Coverage 1957-2013 
Occupation Authors.  |  Singers.  |  Entertainers.  |  Theatre producers and directors.  |  Arts administrators.  |  Oral history interviewers.  |  Festival directors.
Other authors/contributors Manson, Diana

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