Shared Experience Theatre Company Archive

Scope and Content

The archive contains records relating to the running of Shared Experience Theatre Company including: reports, board minutes, and details of how the company is funded. It contains material relating to plays produced by the company including: prompt scripts, production files, photographs, and costume designs. There is also a small quantity of material relating to the marketing of Shared Experience. The majority of material in the archive reflects Nancy Meckler's time as artistic director, although there is some material from Mike Alfreds time as artistic director.

Administrative / Biographical History

Shared Experience is a British touring theatre company that specialises in adaptations of literary texts. Celebrated for their inventive storytelling and a highly physical acting style the company was formed in 1975 by director Mike Alfreds. The first production was a trilogy based on the legend of the Arabian Nights, followed by the highly acclaimed Bleak House, and A Handful of Dust.

In 1988, Nancy Meckler succeeded Alfreds as artistic director, and in 2000 she was joined by Polly Teale. They have continued Shared Experience’s tradition of producing adaptations of classic novels, including an adaptation of War and Peace and After Mrs Rochester.

In 2011 Shared Experience became the Resident Company at the Oxford Playhouse and also learned that it would no longer be among Arts Council England’s regularly funded clients.


The archive has been kept in its original order where possible, any deviations from this have been noted at file level. The archive has been divided into the following six series:

  • THM/396/1 - Papers relating to the running of Shared Experience
  • THM/396/2 - Production Records
  • THM/396/3 - Literary Records
  • THM/396/4 - Photographs
  • THM/396/5 - Sound and Film Recordings
  • THM/396/6 - Shared Experience Marketing Procedures and Policies

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift by Shared Experience Theatre Company, 2011.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Appraisal Information

Appraised according to Collection Policy.

Programmes and flyers have been integrated into the department's core collections.

Custodial History

This collection had remained in the hands of Shared Experience Theatre Company until it was acquired by the V&A's Department of Theatre & Performance.


Further accruals to this collection are likely.