In 2017, UNSW Sydney became the caretaker for the Dennis Wolanski Library collection. The collection was originally part of the Sydney Opera House performing arts library. It consists of 1,600 archive boxes, holding an estimated 4 million pages of information about the performing arts in Australia from 1789 to 1997. The boxes contain press clippings, programs, correspondence, discographies, CVs, invitations, funeral service programs, program notes, publisher blurbs, press releases and a card index of 80,000 entries.

UNSW Sydney is looking after the collection in three ways. First, we are creating a digital list of the research files. Second, we are working towards converting the card index and scanning the programs for input into AusStage. Third, we are developing two research projects around the archive. Our aim is to improve access to the Wolanski collection. We welcome the performing arts and research communities of Australia to join us.

Dennis Wolanski Library collection working lists

The Dennis Wolanski Library collection of research files, programs and press clippings is a collection of national significance. The partners are working on systems and services to manage and provide access to the collection. In the meantime, you can download our working lists of the research files, performing arts index and Australian drama index.

  • Research Files: 80,000 files with information on the performing arts in Australia and overseas 1789-1997
  • Performing Arts Index: 75,000 entries on research files, clippings, programs, articles, photos and other items
  • Australian Drama Index: 5,000 entries on Australian playwrights and their work


  • One of Australia’s major research libraries, with extensive information on the performing arts. The library is providing temporary remote storage facilities to house the Dennis Wolanski Collection.

  • A supporter of the Dennis Wolanski Library collections since 1973, the foundation is interested in the history of the performing arts and its management by libraries, archives, museums and cultural institutions.

  • With data on over 117,000 live events over more than 200 years, AusStage is the world’s largest performing arts database. Founded in 1999, AusStage is funded by the Australian Research Council, led by Flinders University, and managed by a consortium of Australian universities and other partners. 

  • Contact Jonathan Bollen for more information on the project.

    Contact Paul Bentley for access to the collection. 

    Visit the Wolanski Foundation for more information on the Wolanski collection.