As the leading archives of written documents on German-language theatre in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the Performing Arts Archives collects materials in the areas of theatre, opera, dance and political revue shows. Given the broad spectrum of the performing arts, the Archives follows a comprehensive collection policy. The main focus is on the artistic estates, personal papers and biographical records of artistic and general directors, stage directors, choreographers, performing artists (drama, song and dance), stage and costume designers, dramatic advisors, playwrights, composers, theatre artists, critics and theatre scholars. In addition, the Performing Arts Archives also collects written documents from selected institutions and theatres as well as from particular thematic areas. Even if the largest part of the holdings relates to the period from the Weimar Republic to the present day, the Archives also has individual holdings providing an insight into life in the theatre in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The collection's main priorities include:
- Theatre artists from theatre, opera, dance and political revue in German-speaking countries
- Theatre artists persecuted or driven into exile under the Nazi regime
- Members of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin
- Theatre in Berlin (East and West)
- Theatre in the GDR