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Tanya Moiseiwitsch papers

Identifier: PA080

Scope and Content Note

The collections consists of three boxes (varying sizes) of over 50 original costume designs in pen and ink or watercolor on paper. The bulk of the designs are for Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis, MN) productions and often include the names of the performer for whom the designs were made.

In addition to costume designs there are set designs for one play, a production of The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Also represented are two other theater costume designers with whom Ms. Moiseiwitsch worked closely over the course of many years, Carolyn Parker and Desmond Heeley.

There are, in addition to the costume designs, reference notes collected for use in the planning and as inspiration for some of the costume designs.


  • 1964-1981

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained by the copyright holders.

Biographical Note

Tanya Moiseiwitsch was born in London (UK) in 1914 to Daisy Kennedy, an Australian concert violinist, and Benno Moiseiwitsch, a Ukrainian classical pianist. She was the founding designer of the Stratford Festival (Canada) and collaborated with Sir Tyrone Guthrie on productions and even theatre design, beginning in 1945. Moiseiwitsch designed costumes and sets for hundreds of productions in England, including work at the Old Vic Company, Stratford-on-Avon, and at Covent Garden. She and Guthrie, along with Alec Guinness and Irene Worth, founded the Stratford Festival, in Canada, designing a platform stage for the first performances there in 1953.

In Minnesota, she is credited with the design of the first thrust stage at the Guthrie Theatre in 1963, working jointly with Sir Tyrone Guthrie and architect Ralph Rapson. Her work on the landmark 1967 production The House of Atreus, directed by Tyrone Guthrie, was breath-taking. She was responsible for the designs of six productions at the Guthrie Theater: Hamlet(1963), The Miser(1963), The Three Sisters(1963), House of Atreus(1967, 1968), Uncle Vanya(1969) (for which she also designed the sets) and The Government Inspector (1973), the last directed by Michael Langham.

Moiseiwitsch shuttled between Canada, at the Stratford Festival, the United States, at the Guthrie Theater, and England, where she designed costumes and sets at the National Theatre and Stratford-on-Avon, among other venues. She died in London in 2003, and was posthumously awarded an honorary Officer of the Order of Canada for her "enormous impact on theatre arts in the 20th century".


3 boxes


A collection of original costume design drawings and sketches made for the Guthrie Theater, The Stratford Festival (Canada) and others.


The collection is organized into four series:

  1. Costume Designs
  2. Set Designs
  3. Costume Designs by Others
  4. Notes and other materials

Physical Location


Related Material

Related collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries include: Guthrie Theater records (PA003); Desmond Heeley papers (PA052).

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Madeline Vasaly, 2008.

Tanya Moiseiwitsch collection
Madeline Vasaly
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Performing Arts Archives Collecting Area