Modern playscripts

Harry Green sketch of Theatre Royal, Stratford
Sketch by actor Harry Greene of the Theatre Royal in Stratford

We hold the scripts of new plays performed in British theatres since 1968

About the collection

When the Theatres Act of 1968 abolished the Lord Chamberlain’s powers of censorship, a clause was inserted into the Act to ensure that one copy of each new play publicly performed in Britain should be delivered to the Library of the British Museum (now the British Library). These plays form the Modern Playscripts collection.

The Modern Playscripts collection is less comprehensive than its precursor, the Lord Chamberlain’s Plays. In 2004 the Theatre Archive Project launched a campaign to find modern playscripts that should have been deposited in the British Library. The plays that were recovered have been added to our online catalogue.

Send us new playscripts

If you are a theatre in Britain, please send us the script of every new unpublished play that you present. Submit the script within one month of the play's first public performance to:

Helen Melody
Lead Curator, Contemporary Literary and Creative Archives and Manuscripts
The British Library
96 Euston Road


What is available online?

Items from this collection are not available online.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

You can consult the Modern Playscripts Collection in the Manuscripts Reading Room. Use our online catalogue to seach or browse the Modern Playscripts Collection and request your collection items.