MEMORIES & MEMORABILIA
We’ve all got them: cupboards full of theatre programmes, going back to our remote youth, filled with quaint advertisements for soap and cafes, and names – some familiar, some forgotten.
They’re so redolent of good times past, of pleasures shared, of historic performances. Surely they must be worth something to someone?
As a recognised theatre-addict (still not recovering), I’m touched when friends offer me their own collections of programmes that they are clearing out. Sadly, I can’t accept – unless they want to give me a house as well.
I’ve already got my own full cupboard, and though it’s a struggle to close the door, I can’t bear to open it! Why? Because it’s like looking through family photographs, and if I sit down to try to sort them into order, several hours will slip by unnoticed. Every one I throw away seems like a small betrayal.
And yes, I have some treasures: The Cocktail Party, signed by Alec Guinness and Eileen Atkins, The Iceman Cometh emblazoned with Kevin Spacey and Tim Piggott-Smith, the first production of Into the Woods signed by a very tired Bernadette Peters, among others.
I’m very envious of our friend Alan, who has clocked up even more years of theatre-going than me, and who can lay his hand on any programme in his collection in the blink of an eye. That’s organisation for you!
They’re of great sentimental value, but the more mercenary among us will want to know what the market value is. Luckily, The Sunday Times Home Front supplement published some useful advice on 21 April 2019 (yes, I kept the cutting):
“…even signed programmes rarely command high prices. Popular sites for selling are eBay (ebay.co,UK) and preloved (preloved.co.UK) where you can sell programmes individually or in bundles…
.“ You could try Theatre Memorabilia (theatrememorabilia,co.uk) – you must tell the company at the outset the price you are prepared to accept….
“Another option might be taking a table at a sale organised by the Ephemera Society (Ephemera-society.org.uk)…They hold events each year in London where sellers offer printed ephemers of every kind.”
If you really can’t bear to think of these treasures going in the recycling bin, you might give one of those a try. And if you do, let us know how well you get on. Good luck.