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THM/291 - Collection of Research Material on Edith Evans, actress

Collection of Research Material on Edith Evans, actress

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This material is held atV&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291
Dates of Creation1910s-1970s
Name of CreatorBryan Forbes
Language of Material English
Physical Description 2 boxes (1 box, 8 folders and 1 item)

Scope and Content

This collection contains photographs and images covering the life and career of Edith Evans, as well as a continuity script for the Brian Forbes documentary film on her and a VHS copy of the same. The collection also contains two items of related ephemera.

Administrative / Biographical History

Bryan Forbes is an English actor, writer and director. He was friends with Edith Evans during the last 12 years of her life, and collected this material whilst conducting research for his biography on her, Ned's Girl. In 1976 he directed her in the musical film The Slipper and the Rose.

Born in London in 1899, Edith Mary Evans first appearance on stage was in 1910 in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 1912 she was discovered by the noted producer William Poel, and made her first professional appearance for him in a production of Sakuntala. In 1914 she was noticed by the novelist George Moore, who became her mentor and was responsible for her first work engagement at the Royalty Theatre, London.

Her career spanned sixty-six years, during which she performed over 150 different roles in works by a range of playwrights ranging from Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen to Noël Coward and Christopher Fry, and created six of the characters of George Bernard Shaw including Orinthia in The Apple Cart (1929). Some of her notable performances include Millamant in The Way of the World (1924), Rosalind in As You Like It (1926 and 1936), Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (1932, 1934 and 1961) and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest (1939). She performed without a break until a few months before her death. Her final public appearance was a BBC radio programme before an audience in August 1976.

Evans had also begun a film career in 1915, her breakthrough movie being The Last Days of Dolwyn (1948), written and directed by Emlyn Williams. Evans was twice nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, and was nominated for the 1967 Best Actress award for her performance in The Whisperers, eventually losing out to Katherine Hepburn.

A life-long lover of poetry, Evans' final West End stage appearance was a performance of her one-woman show of poetry readings in 1973, whilst her last performance on film was at the age of eighty-seven in The Slipper and the Rose, in which she sang and danced.

In 1925, Evans married George (Guy) Booth, a petroleum engineer. He died a decade later and the marriage was childless. She was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1946. She died at her home in Kent in 1976, at the age of 88.

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged into the following series:

  • THM/291/1 - Photographs and images
  • THM/291/2 - Documentary continuity scripts
  • THM/291/3 - Video copy of Brian Forbes' documentary
  • THM/291/4 - Mixed ephemera

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance's Reading Room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Friday between 10.15 am and 4.30 pm. Access to it is by appointment only. To request an appointment please email tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk or telephone 020 7942 2698.

Access to some of this material may be restricted due to conservation reasons, and will be granted at the discretion of the archivist. These are identified at file level.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Brian Forbes, 2001.

Custodial History

Bryan Forbes collected this material whilst conducting research for his 1977 biography on Edith Evans, Ned's Girl.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to the life and career of Edith Evans may be found in several collections, including the biographical, production and photograph files as well as the library collections.

Subjects

Actresses--Great Britain
Theatre--Great Britain--History--20th century.

Personal Names

Forbes, Bryan. ( b.1926)
Shakespeare, William. ( 1564-1616)
Poel, William. ( 1852-1934)
Moore, George. ( 1852-1933)
Williams, Emlyn. ( 1905-1987)
Shaw, George Bernard. ( 1856-1950)
Fry, Christopher. ( 1907-2005)
Ibsen, Henrik. ( 1828-1906)
Evans, Dame Edith. ( 1888-1976)
Coward, Nöel. ( 1899-1973)

Cataloguing Info

TitleCollection of Research Material on Edith Evans, actress
CreationCreated by Veronica Castro using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2012-07-05

Photographs and images

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/1
Dates of Creation1910s-1970s
Physical Description 7 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain photographs and images covering the life and career of Edith Evans, as well as a selection of images of buildings and other theatrical performers.


Edith Evans photographic portraits

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/1/1
Dates of Creation1910s-1970s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains photographic portraits of Evans, some taken by Angus McBean. Most are undated although one is dated 1933.

Personal Names

McBean, Angus. ( 1904-1990)

Edith Evans candid photographs

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/1/2
Dates of Creation1910s-1970s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains candid photographs of Evans at leisure. The folder also includes two photographs of Evans on set for the recording of actor Peter Finch's episode of the BBC television show This is Your Life, 1961. All other photos are undated.

Personal Names

Finch, Peter. ( 1916-1977)

Stage production photographs

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/1/3
Dates of Creation1910s-1970s
Physical Description 2 folders

Scope and Content

This folder contains stage production photographs for productions including All's Well That End’s Well, The Cherry Orchard, The Country Wife and The Light is Dark Enough. Some are annotated, all are undated.


Film and television production photographs

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/1/4
Dates of Creation1910s-1970s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains film and television production photographs for productions including A Nun's Story, The Last Days of Dolwyn and The Slipper and the Rose. Some are annotated, all are undated.


People and buildings photographs

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/1/5
Dates of Creation1910s-1970s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains photographs and images of other actors including Gladys Cooper and John Gielgud (production photos, candids and portraits) and buildings. The folder also includes three photographic negatives. These photographs are undated.

Physical Description

This folder contains photographic negatives.

Personal Names

Cooper, Gladys. ( 1888-1971)
Gielgud, John. ( 1904-2000)

Other mixed images

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/1/6
Dates of Creation1910s-1970s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains the following:

  • Cuttings from The Bystander and The Sketch featuring Evans, dated 1927, 1928 and 1936.
  • Two colour pen and ink drawings of Evans by Vivien Hewerdine, dated 1924.
  • Colour print drawing of Evans as Volumnia in Coriolanus, undated.
  • Photograph of the Evans sculpted head which was on display at the Royal Court Theatre for many years.
  • Image of a painted portrait of Evans, artist unknown, undated.

Personal Names

Hewerdine, Vivien

Geographical Names

Royal Court Theatre

Documentary continuity scripts

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/2
Dates of Creation1960s-1970s
Physical Description 1 box (2 volumes)

Scope and Content

This box holds the continuity script in two volumes for Bryan Forbes’ documentary on Evans. Annotated, undated.

Personal Names

Forbes, Bryan . ( b.1926)

Videotape copy of Brian Forbes' documentary

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/3
Dates of Creation1960s-1970s
Physical Description 1 item (VHS videotape)

Scope and Content

VHS videotape copy of Brian Forbes' filmed documentary Dame Edith Evans, undated.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to this videotape may be restricted due to conservation reasons and will be granted at the discretion of the archivist.

Physical Description

VHS videotape.

Personal Names

Forbes, Bryan. ( b.1926)

Mixed ephemera

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/291/4
Dates of Creation1920s-1940s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains the following:

  • A small flyer advertising a theatrical Xmas Party starring Evans alongside John Gielgud among others. Signed on front and reverse. Undated.
  • Postcard, correspondents unknown, date illegible.

Personal Names

Gielgud, John. ( 1904-2000)