Canadian Theatre Production Index, Arts Department, Toronto Reference Library

July 30, 2015 | Wendy

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  Arts Department

One of the best-kept secrets in the Arts Department at the Toronto Reference Library is the Production Index, humbly stored in filing cabinets in the staff area adjacent to the Information Desk. 

     Filing cabinets  Filing cabinets

Humble may be its appearance, but the information it contains is not.  This index is nothing less than a window on the production histories of professional theatre in Canada!  Whether a Canadian play, or one by a foreign playwright, if it has been performed on a Canadian stage, the Production Index records its premiere run as well as its revivals.  While not a complete record of all Canadian productions, it is amazingly extensive and a quick way to find information. 

By the way, the Production Index is recorded on old-school index cards, and most are annotated with extra goodies like whether the Library also has an original program, production photos or theatre reviews.

Here is a typical card for Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-Soeurs:

Michel Tremblay index card

The staff in the Arts department can help you to decipher this information, and will retrieve (for example) original programs from storage if needed.

Programs2  Programs

 They will show you where the Vertical Files are if there are reviews,

Reviews  Vertical files reviews

or point you to the Special Collections department for the ‘really old stuff’ and most ephemeral material such as posters, playbills and archival material .

Special collections

So come on up to the Arts Department of the Toronto Reference Library and discover Canadian theatre!