Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00359 (Downsview Offsite) - David Gardner Papers

Identity area

Reference code

CA OTUTF MS COLL 00359 (Downsview Offsite)


David Gardner Papers


  • 1950-1999 (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

88 boxes and items (48 metres)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

David Gardner was born in 1928 in Toronto. He attended Lawrence Park Collegiate and made his professional debut on CBC Radio at just 18 years of age. From high school, Gardner entered the University of Toronto, which was then a magnet for actors thanks to the Hart House Theatre, often considered the cradle of Canadian theatre. It was into this world that Gardner began to learn his craft. Under the direction of the legendary Robert Gill, he played Othello, Macbeth and Marc Anthony. He was also active in the adminstrative side of theatre: in 1960, he chaired the committee that founded the National Theatre School in Montreal. Gardner went back to school in his mid-life, obtaining a Masters degree and then a Ph.D. in Canadian Theatre History from the University of Toronto. He has also written extensively about theatre in Canada for the Oxford Companion, the Canadian Encyclopedia, The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and Theatre Research in Canada, all the while continuing to both act and direct.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of David Gardner, 1999.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of material relating to Canadian theatre history and to Gardner's acting and directing career. It includes theatre programmes, articles and press clippings concerning the history of theatre in Canada, especially for the Toronto area (1974 to 1999); audio tapes of Association for Canadian Theatre Research conferences; videotapes of ten television productions directed by him, and more than fifty production photographs; tapes of his television and film performances; scrapbooks (1935-1955), that document his career on stage (Hart House Theatre, Straw Hat Players, Crest Theatre, New Play Society, Jupiter Theatre, Stratford Festival) and in radio and television; other papers and photographs; other directors' prompt books; diaries; correspondence; playbills and broadsides. John Holden's collection of 19th and 20th century playscripts as well as Holden's production scripts for Canadian theatres, mainly in the 1950s and early 1960s, are also in the collection.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form: Please note that this material requires 2 business days to retrieve.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description identifier


Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

Rules and/or conventions used




Accession area

Finding aid



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