7:84 (England) Theatre Company: Records and Papers

Scope and Content

The papers include unpublished playscripts by John McGrath, Ewan MacColl, Steve Gooch, Adrian Mitchell and others. There are numerous production files, records relating to McGrath's early career, correspondence with other theatre and television companies, scrapbooks and miscellaneous correspondence, together with articles and interviews regarding the Company, and J.P. Simond, 'Ethique et Esthetique dans le Theatre de John McGrath', a 1994 Metz PhD thesis (2 volumes). The collection also contains extensive correspondence with the various theatre funding bodies, relating to when public funding of the company was cut in 1984-1985.

Administrative / Biographical History

The company was founded in 1971 by John McGrath, a successful stage and television writer, with the aim of attracting people to the theatre who would not normally consider going. It began by putting on performances in smaller venues in Scotland, seeking to address political issues in a revolutionary way. McGrath went on to write plays for the company that dealt with the major contemporary issues of the day. The English branch of the company folded in 1984, after losing its grant from the Art Council. The Scottish company continued, although McGrath left in 1988, following disagreements with the Scottish Arts Council.

Access Information

The 7:84 (England) papers are closed. Those wishing to consult them require the prior written permission of Liz MacLennan, who may be contacted via letter addressed c/o John Wells in the Department of Manuscripts.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by John McGrath.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

A summary catalogue is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Related Material

Archives of the sister company, 7:84 Scotland, are held in the National Library of Scotland (Manuscripts Division, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW, Accession 10893).