Period Sources

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The Toronto Public Library’s Theatre Collection, begun by librarian Heather McCallum in 1961, is the oldest and largest of its kind in Canada. Although renowned for its Canadian theatre materials, the Collection also contains many fine examples of rare books and ephemera depicting historical and international performances.

These engravings of Baroque stage designs are part of the Library’s collection of more than 1,800 engravings, portraits and visual representations of theatre, opera and dance in Europe, the United States and Japan.

Many of the early books in the Theatre Collection feature theatre architecture, sets, and costumes, such as this example document the work of the noted Bibiena family of Italian designers. These rare materials provide an invaluable contemporary record for researchers and practitioners interested in theatre history and period performance, and complement the extensive book collection in the Performing Arts Centre, on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library.

Gerrard Gauci:
The collections of the Toronto Public Library were an important resource in the creation of designs for Opera Atelier. These period engravings, documenting forced perspective scenery, elaborate stage machinery and gorgeous costumes, illustrate the principles of baroque design that inspire the company’s creative team.