Total Theatre Archive – Phase One Done

Total Theatre Archive: preserving 30 years of UK performance history and creating an interactive archive 

Total Theatre Magazine announces the completion of phase one of its Heritage Lottery Funded archive project – 25 years of Total Theatre Magazine in print sourced and scanned, new website in development

We are delighted to announce that with the support of a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, through the Our Heritage funding programme, we have completed phase one of the project Total Theatre Archive: preserving 30 years of UK performance history and creating an interactive archive.


The very first Total Theatre Magazine, Winter 1988/89

The very first Total Theatre Magazine, Winter 1988/89


Working with The Keep National Archive Centre, and a team of volunteers trained and mentored by The Keep’s Reprographics Department, every single print issue of the magazine (close to 100 issues over 25 years) has been sourced, scanned and saved to PDF. Volunteers have also been trained and mentored in writing and editorial processes, attending live performance events and festivals in Brighton, London and Edinburgh, and taking part in a series of workshops on critical writing, written documentation and archiving led by Total Theatre Magazine’s editor Dorothy Max Prior.


Volunteer Ciaran Hammond and the BookEye scanner at The Keep

Volunteer Ciaran Hammond and the BookEye scanner at The Keep


In phase two of the project, the full 25 years of  Total Theatre Magazine in print will be made available online in a brand new website with fully searchable content – a valuable resource for scholars, journalists, artists, students, and anybody interested in Britain’s alternative theatre and performance history. The website has been constructed, and data entry is in progress. Once complete, Total Theatre Magazine’s editorial team will then be working with theatre writers, editors, and leading arts professionals to create new content that will reflect upon and interact with the archive; and collaborating with our partners to create a programme of activities and learning opportunities using the new archive. A new Total Theatre Artists as Writers initiative is also launched October 2018, managed by Associate Editor Beccy Smith, as part of phase two of the project. Details of the chosen participants will be announced soon here.


Volunteer Matty Blake and the issue of TTM for the month she was born

Volunteer Matty Blake and an issue of TTM from the year she was born


Total Theatre Magazine’s editor, and project manager of the Total Theatre Archive project, Dorothy Max Prior says:

‘It has been a delight to work with so many brilliant and talented volunteers in phase one of the project. Their dedication to the Total Theatre Archive has been truly wonderful. Whilst data entry to the new website continues, we concurrently launch our Total Theatre Artists as Writers scheme. It’s going to be a fruitful few months, and I thank everyone who has made this possible especially Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Lottery players, Attenborough Centre of Creative Arts / University of Sussex,  The Keep National Archive Centre, and our wonderful team of volunteer archivists and writers. Onwards we go!


TTM print archive, year by year

TTM print archive, year by year


Further information:

About Total Theatre Magazine

For over 30 years, Total Theatre Magazine has been at the forefront of the advocacy, celebration and documentation of contemporary theatre and performance – including the support of forms such as circus, street theatre, site-responsive performance, puppetry, and visual theatre, which have often been ignored, or not treated with the seriousness they merit, by other publications. Thanks to National Lottery players, this archive will be preserved for everyone to engage with, all content provided free to view. The new Total Theatre Archive website is to be launched in 2019.

Total Theatre Magazine was in print 1989–2012, and subsequently online at The print magazine encompassed close to 100 issues over those 25 years.

Total Theatre Magazine is unique as an artist-led practice-based publication and resource that celebrates, supports and documents innovative work by artists and companies creating ‘total theatre’ – a term we resist defining too tightly, but which includes: physical, visual and ensemble devised theatre; dance-theatre; mime and clown; contemporary circus; cabaret and new variety; puppetry and animation; street arts, outdoor performance, and site-specific theatre; live art performance and hybrid arts.

Total Theatre Magazine is currently in a process of redevelopment which will result in an exciting new phase of life, building on our strong heritage and finding new ways to critique, document and support contemporary physical and visual theatre and performance.

Total Theatre Magazine is managed and published by Aurelius Productions CIC, who took over publication from previous supporters University of Winchester., and before that Arts Council England, as one project of the regularly funded organisation Mime Action Group trading as Total Theatre Network The core editorial team (Dorothy Max Prior, John Ellingsworth, Beccy Smith and Thomas Wilson) is working  to progress plans for the next phase of Total Theatre Magazine.

Total Theatre Artists as Writers Scheme

Workshops in critical response and writing skills plus a one-to-one writing development plan put together in bespoke packages to support the artists involved over the period October 2019 – January 2019. The project will result in the writing and publication of an extended essay/article on their own practice in relation to the Archive and, we hope, new conversations about writing on contemporary theatre in the UK.  This scheme is being run by Total Theatre Magazine’s Associate Editor Beccy Smith. Contact her on

About Total Theatre Network:

Total Theatre Magazine operates in collaboration with, but financially independent of, the Total Theatre Awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which are produced by the organisation Total Theatre Network. See

About the Heritage Lottery Fund: 

Thanks to National Lottery players, Heritage Lottery Fund invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love; from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. See

Our Partners and Supporters:

Total Theatre Magazine has received financial support from Heritage Lottery Fund’s Our Heritage, and a number of leading institutions and organisations, including: Rose Bruford College of Theatre  & Performance, Royal Conservatoire Scotland, and The Attenborough Centre of Creative Arts at University of Sussex. The project has been supported by The Keep National Archive Centre, Sussex. We have also received support in kind from a diverse range of arts organisations and individuals. We welcome enquiries from anyone wishing to help Total Theatre Magazine in this: contact Dorothy Max Prior on


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Dorothy Max Prior

About Dorothy Max Prior

Dorothy Max Prior is the editor of Total Theatre Magazine, and is also a performer, writer, dramaturg and choreographer/director working in theatre, dance, installation and outdoor arts. Much of her work is sited in public spaces or in venues other than regular theatres. She also writes essays and stories, some of which are published and some of which languish in bottom drawers – and she teaches drama, dance and creative non-fiction writing.