Squat Theatre Archives at UC Davis Library – Special Collections (Peter J. Shields Library)

Author(s): Katalin Cseh-Varga (2016) – last update: 2018-04-19.

Squat Theatre began in 1969 as the Kassak Studio in Budapest, Hungary. Pressured by the Hungarian government because of its political and aesthetic radicalism, the group left Hungary in 1976. Calling itself Elephant Theatre, the troupe performed in western Europe for one year. Then, adopting the name Squat Theatre, they emigrated to the U.S.

The Squat Theatre Archives at UC Davis Library holds audio/visual materials, correspondence, ephemera, financial records, legal documents, photographs, programs, promotional materials and scripts, providing an extensive historical record of the expatriate Hungarian theatre troupe from the time of its inception in Budapest in 1969 to its activities in the avant-garde theatre scene in New York City during the 1980s.


Squat Theatre Archives
UC Davis Library
100 NW Quad
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

Archival information: tel. +1 530-752-1621
Email: shieldscirc@ucdavis.edu or speccoll@ucdavis.edu
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 – 17:00



How to find the Archive sites

Maps & location sketches

How to plan and to prepare a visit

Please, send an email explaining your research project and a list of the archival material you would like to study well in advance (approx. two weeks) to speccoll@ucdavis.edu.


All researchers wishing to use manuscripts will be required to register as a patron in the Special Collections Request System (Aeon) giving full information about the subject, scope, and purpose of the research undertaken.

Reading Rooms

The Special Collections reading rooms are located on the first floor of the Shields Library;  there is an extra reading room for microfilms.

Reading Room rules and regulations

  • Researchers working on-site must show current photo identification. As part of its research and educational mission, the Library routinely grants permission to examine its Special Collection of manuscripts to qualified researchers, however this use is subject to whatever restrictions that may have been placed on the manuscripts by the donors or by the Library itself.
  • Before entering the reading room, visitors are asked to leave all containers, including purses, handbags, briefcases, backpacks, large envelopes, and folders with pockets etc. in the lockers provided at the reading room entrance.
  • No ink may be used in the reading room. NO pens!
  • Researchers should request archive boxes via the Special Collections Request System (Aeon) at least seven business days before visiting.
  • There is no self-service copying; patrons may arrange for copies to be made of Special Collections material subject to copyright, donor restrictions and the physical effect of copying on the original item. Special Collections allows the use of digital cameras in the Reading Room. Please see the Policy for the use of personal cameras in the Special Collections Reading Room

Archive databases & Online finding aids

Please consult the Finding Aid on the Online Archive of California

Practical advice

  • If you require advice on how to enter the USA, please visit the US Customs and Border Protection page. Thirty-eight countries are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA), which allows citizens to travel to the USA on tourism or business for stays up to 90 days without a visa if they meet all requirements.
  • The Squat Theatre Archives is located at the UC Davis campus (outside the city centre), where you can choose between several cafeterias for lunch.
  • Most collections are stored offsite and need to be retrieved for your research visit. To begin the request process, researchers should request boxes via the Special Collections Request System (Aeon) at least seven business days before visiting. Please check your Aeon account to confirm that the item status is listed as “Available in Reading Room” before visiting.
  • The air conditioning system cools down the reading room very effectively; you may want to wear warm clothes.
  • There is wifi free of charge and there are power sockets in the reading room.
  • Please visit Transportation Services for more information about parking.

Citation Suggestion

Cseh-Varga, Katalin: Squat Theatre Archives at UC Davis Library – Special Collections (Peter J. Shields Library), in: ESE Archives Guide: A Web Guide to East and Southeast European Archives, 2016 (2018-04-19), http://www.ese-archives.geschichte.uni-muenchen.de/?p=747

Leave a Reply