Performing Arts Collection

The Performing Arts Collection is a rich, diverse and ever-evolving archive that records and displays the history of the Performing Arts in South Australia.

The Performing Arts Collection was established by Premier Don Dunstan in 1979 with the aim to preserve, record and display the significant contributions South Australians have made on stage and behind-the-scenes to theatre, opera, music, dance, musical theatre, film and circus.

Over the last forty years the Collection has evolved to become one of the most important and comprehensive performing arts collections in Australia and now comprises over 100,000 objects.

It holds significant collections from Dame Judith Anderson, Sir Robert Helpmann, Fewster and King, Australian Dance Company, State Theatre Company and State Opera of South Australia.

Items in the collection range from the ephemeral (programs and ticket stubs); to artworks (paintings and photography); to design (costume renderings and set models); to architecture (theatre fittings, furniture and décor); to textiles (costumes and millinery); and to archives and event files dating back to 1858.

Adelaide Festival Centre proudly houses the Performing Arts Collection. This invaluable resource can be accessed by practitioners, researchers and anyone with a keen passion for the arts. 

For more information about or access to the Collection and all general Performing Arts Collection enquiries please email  

If you are interested in donating items to the Performing Arts Collection, Adelaide Festival Centre please fill in the Donation Appraisal/Offer Form

Banner image (composite): (L) Twelfth Night, or What You Will, 1999. Costume designed by Dale Ferguson. Donated by State Theatre Company South Australia. From the Performing Arts Collection, Adelaide Festival Centre. Photograph by Grant Hancock. (R) Sound of Music – Maria (Floral Dress), 2001. Costume designed by Catherine Zuber. From the Performing Arts Collection, Adelaide Festival Centre. Photograph by Grant Hancock.