The Willy Russell Archive

Scope and Content

The collection includes manuscripts, programmes, publicity and media material including newspaper cuttings and press releases, correspondence, legal, financial and administrative documents, material relating to the casting and audition process, administrative material, film and television material and ephemera produced for promotional purposes. The material was produced throughout the course of Willy Russell's career and is a comprehensive representation of his body of work.

Administrative / Biographical History

Willy Russell is a playwright and musician whose work has enjoyed worldwide success and acclaim. He is best known for plays Educating Rita (1980), Shirley Valentine (1986), Our Day Out (1977), and the musical Blood Brothers (1983). Willy Russell's works have been translated into numerous languages and won multiple awards for both theatre and film. Further works include the screenplays for the award winning film adaptations of Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, musicals and plays John, Paul, George, Ringo…..& Bert, Stags & Hens, Breezeblock Park, When the Reds.. and One For the Road, and television works One Summer, Terraces, and The Daughters of Albion. His first novel, The Wrong Boy, was published in 2000. He has provided the musical scores for the feature films, Shirley Valentine, Dancin' Thru The Dark and Mr Love as well as for the TV series Connie and the television play Terraces. Willy Russell released his first album, Hoovering the Moon, in 2003.


The material was initially arranged and stored by individual work, and this is reflected in the arrangement of the archive catalogue structure. The catalogue retains the series devised by Michael Seagroatt for works which generated a smaller volume of material, including Early Produced Works, Unproduced Works and Television and Radio Works. New series created for the archive catalogue include a series for material relating to Willy Russell as an individual and for material relating to Music, Song writing and Live Performance works. The catalogue's sub-series are based on genre of record. Original order has been retained at item level.

Access Information

Access to the material is open and unrestricted. However, a selection of the correspondence material has been embargoed. Access to correspondence material may be granted, but requires direct permission from Willy Russell, or the relevant copyright holder.

Acquisition Information

The Collection was deposited by Willy Russell at Liverpool John Moores University in 2013.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogues for the Willy Russell archive collection are can be found at: LJMU Digital Collections

Conditions Governing Use

Material cannot be reproduced without written permission from the copyright holder, Willy Russell. For further details please see contact the LJMU archivist at:

Custodial History

The material in this collection was amassed by Willy Russell over the course of his career. The production programmes were collected either from attendance at productions, or sent from the director/production team to the author. The correspondence was collected and arranged by Willy Russell and his administrative team, and the newspaper cuttings were sent from production companies or individual producers. The material has been housed in archival quality storage boxes. It was initially arranged by librarian Michael Seagroatt. The collection was arranged and catalogued by Jessica Smith, with 3 months assistance from Louise Bruton between October 2011 and October 2012.


Further accruals to this archive collection are expected, as productions and pieces of Willy Russell's work continue to be staged worldwide. Additions to most catalogue series are probable.