MATERIAL from the Sir Patrick Stewart Archive is currently on display at the University of Huddersfield Heritage Quay archive centre.
The items were displayed as part of Cosmia Festival, the UK's first multi-arts convention dedicated to science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction. The University is a festival partner and organised a conference at the Heritage Quay archive centre as part of the programme.
Huddersfield was the perfect home for conference as, alongside Sir Patrick Stewart in the role of Star Trek’s Captain Jean Luc Picard and X-Men’s Professor Charles Xavier, Huddersfield is also the home town of Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey, who played Queen Cersei Lannister, and also the current Dr Who, actor Jodie Whittaker.
Patrick Stewart was Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield from 2004 to 2015 and still makes regular returns to the campus. His latest visit was last summer, in 2019, when he talked about his return to the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the new television series Star Trek: Picard.
The Patrick Stewart Archive also features a number of items from his early days as captain of the Starship Enterprise in the hit television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. This includes the last ever script for the final episode of the series, which also includes fond messages on the cover from other cast members.
The extensive collection came from two sources. A large part was material, which includes letters, scripts with Patrick’s own notes, videos and memorabilia, was collected by the Patrick Stewart Research Library, a U.S. fan-run resource that started in 1966 and which later led on to the International Audience Alliance for Patrick Stewart.
The resource covers a period from 1954 to 2001 and many items date back to Patrick‘s early career when he was an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company and continue through to his later film roles and his appearances at fan conventions.
Arrange a visit to the Sir Patrick Stewart Archive at the Heritage Quay archive centre
Other items are personal memorabilia from the man himself.
“The collection is a fascinating insight into the man behind the actor and it is available as a reference source for anyone interested in Patrick’s career, members of the public or active researchers, and is an invaluable source of biographical material,” said David Smith, the University’s Public Engagement Officer for Archives and Special Collections.
One of the earliest pieces in the collection refers to Patrick as a boy when he attended a drama club summer school in the local Calder Valley. Each of the summer school programmes were signed at the time by the budding young actors, one of which was famous fellow Yorkshire actor Brian Blessed.
A personal treasure is the small notebook that Patrick kept in his early repertory days, where he wrote short two-line reviews about the plays in which he performed. The diary-like notes covered his thoughts on his own performance, his opinion of the scripts and how the audience reacted to his performance.”
The Patrick Stewart exhibition is open to all to view seven days a week in the Heritage Quay exhibition space. To view additional material from the Patrick Stewart archive, please visit the research room when it is open to the public on Mondays and Tuesday 9.30-5.00pm. For more information and questions about the collection, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
“People will be surprised and even shocked,” the actor told Huddersfield staff during his visit, “because this time it will be different for Picard from his time directing operations on the ship’s bridge.”
The new series is set 20 years after the last moment of its famous predecessor series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, which ran from 1987 to 1994. “It’s a new world and was very exciting,” said the actor, who describes Picard as a man who has undergone disappointment, trauma and serious loss and, at first, not remotely the same man as he was.
“We are looking at a new world with new objectives, problems and issues that could not have been raised when we were making The Next Generation and I found that very exciting,” said Sir Patrick. “I don’t regard it as going back, in fact, we are definitely moving the series forward and that’s what made the difference for me,” said the actor, who initially turned the part down twice.