The Library and Audio-Visual Resource at SMPC is probably the most extensive of its kind in the UK.
The mask library has been compiled by Dr. Malcolm Knight over a period of 45 years and contains sections on tribal, Greek/Roman,Medieval, Commedia dell Arte, Noh, Bugaku, Korean, European folk traditions, Latin American carnivals, Twentieth Century Art Movements and Contemporary Physical Theatre. It is housed in the Mask Studio of the Centre rather than in the main library.
The puppet library has also been compiled by Dr. Malcolm Knight but with the sustained practical advice and support of RayDa Silva/Books. This is housed in the Seminar Room of the Main Building and contains over 6000 volumes on history, theory, other cultures, Asian puppetry, biographies of puppet masters, puppet companies by country, puppet directories and encyclopaedias, monographs from Poland, and puppetry journals from around the world. It also contains special sections on Punch & Judy and the European folk heroes, Toy Theatres, Ventriloquism, Puppets in Education and Therapy, Shadow Theatre and Gigantes/Giant figures.
The audio visual collection includes the Henson master series on Obratztsov, Jim Henson and Albrecht Roser. There is another video series on the Saltzburg Marionette Theatre introduced by Peter Ustinov and a collection of films on Trnka and Svankmaier. Others include the films of Lotte Reiniger, Guignol in performance, Commedia dell’Arte performed by puppets (including Salavatore Gatto’s Pulcinello e il cane). There is also a collection on Japanese Bunraku, Noh and Kabuki plus Vietnamese Water Puppets, Javanese Wayang and Kathakali. Also Barnard on Barnard and other films by the British Puppet & Model Theatre Guild plus the 1980 Washington Puppet Festival and the splendid Dutch film from the Netherlands Poppenspiel Institut entitled Moving Objects.