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Papers of Jim Sharman, circa 1940-2010 [manuscript]
Bib ID 4579845
Format ManuscriptManuscript, OnlineOnline
Sharman, Jim, 1945-
Online Versions
Related Online
Access Conditions Part available for research; part requires permission for research. Not for loan. 
Description [ca. 1940-2010] 
40.85 m. (67 boxes) + 8 large cartons + 21 folio boxes + 5 oversize bundles + 2 small rolled boxes + 6 map folios + 2 phase boxes. 

The bulk of the papers in MS Acc09.028 relate to the many theatrical productions on which Sharman has worked over the course of his career. They include correspondence, including a small group of letters from Patrick White, scripts, production notes, reviews, ephemera, photographs, scrap books, costume designs and research notes. There is also correspondence with family, friends and colleagues, appointment diaries, diaries containing Sharman's writings and miscellanous papers relating to specific productions, photographs, posters and a large collection of programs. There is a small group of papers and photographs relating to Sharman's father, James Michael (Jimmy) Sharman (63 boxes, 8 large cartons, 19 fol. boxes, 5 oversize bundles, 2 small rolled boxes, 6 map folios, 2 phase boxes).

The Acc10.103 instalment comprises correspondence, photographs, family and personal papers, writings of Jim Sharman, ephemera relating to theatre productions and legal papers. The correspondence includes letters and cards relating to Sharman's career in the theatre, as well as personal greetings cards and messages of condolence on the deaths of his parents. The photographs comprise family snaps, photographs of the Jimmy Sharman Boxing Troupe, production photographs (Roll Up, Shirley Thompson and the aliens, Death in Venice) and portraits of Sharman. There is production ephemera for Hair, The threepenny opera, A midsummer night's dream, Sunrise, Blood wedding and Death in Venice. Further production records relate to Death in Venice, a Performance of songs by Lou Reed, Brecht-Weill and Randy Newman, and The three furies. Sharman's writing is represented by draft librettos and scripts for operettas and a musical (Encore, abccb, The Artist is Wilde and Achievement), and draft excerpts of his memoir Blood and tinsel. The legal papers include contracts relating to the musical, Hair (4 boxes, 1 fol. box).

The MS Acc17.138 instalment comprises a visual diary of 1970s musicals including Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair (Japan), Rocky Horror Picture Show. The visual diary includes newspaper cuttings, programs, and photographs (1 fol. box).


Jim Sharman has had a long and distinguished career in directing plays, musicals, films and operas, both in Australia and internationally. His early introduction to theatre was via his father, Jimmy Sharman, the legendary Australian showman. Sharman attended Randwick Boys High School, after which he studied at NIDA. His first commission, at the age of twenty-two, was a production of Don Giovanni in Melbourne. His radical new approach to the staging of this opera served to establish his credentials as an innovative new talent. Sharman went on to direct many iconic productions including Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror show, Chess and the opera Voss. In 1982 he was artistic director of the Adelaide Festival of Arts, and from 1982-1983 he was director of the Lighthouse Theatre Company in Adelaide.

Sharman established an enduring friendship with author Patrick White, directing a number of his plays. In 1984 he directed the production of Richard Meale and David Malouf's opera Voss, adapted from White's novel of the same name. In 1993 he wrote and directed a documentary titled The burning piano: a portrait of Patrick White. And in 2008 Sharman published his autobigraphy with the title Blood & tinsel: a memoir.


Manuscript reference no.: MS Acc09.028, MS Acc10.103, Ms Acc17.138.

Associated materials: Records of Proscenia Theatre, 1962-1977 MS Acc07.127.

MS Acc09.028 copy Also available online

Related Material Conversation with Jim Sharman; Located at; National Library of Australia Oral History collection ORAL TRC 1/969-971. 
Subjects Sharman, Jim, 1945- -- Archives.  |  Sharman, Jimmy, 1912-2006.  |  Rocky Horror show.  |  Theatrical producers and directors -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Theater -- Australia.
Time Coverage 1940-2010 
Occupation Theatre producers and directors.
Terms of Use Copying of Jim Sharman's copyright material permitted for research purposes. 
Exhibited Selected items exhibited in: "The Life of Patrick White", National Library of Australia, 13 April - 8 July 2012, State Library of New South Wales, 20 August to 28 October 2012.  Exhibited: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 7 October 2011 - 15 December 2012. 

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MS Acc09.028 Special Collections Reading Room - Prior notice required
Unprocessed collection
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MS Acc10.103 Special Collections Reading Room - Prior notice required
Unprocessed instalment
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MS Acc17.138 Special Collections Reading Room - Prior notice required
Unprocessed instalment
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