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THM/31 - Sir Michael Redgrave Archive
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Sir Michael Redgrave Archive

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This material is held at V&A Museum: Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31
Dates of Creation 1890-1996
Name of Creator Sir Michael Redgrave
Language of Material English
Physical Description 204 boxes (1411 files)

Scope and Content

Scripts for plays in which Michael Redgrave appeared, as well as a number of typescripts for the various readings and recordings which he made throughout his career.

Administrative / Biographical History

Michael Redgrave was born on 20 March 1908, the child of actors Margaret (Daisy) Scudamore and Roy Redgrave. He studied at Cambridge University before becoming a teacher of modern languages at Cranleigh School, Surrey, where he spent much of his time directing and acting in amateur dramatic productions. His professional acting career began at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1934, where he met and married actress Rachel Kempson. They had three children, Vanessa, Corin, and Lynn, who later went on to have distinguished acting careers of their own. In 1936 Michael Redgrave joined the Old Vic where he played several prominent roles, including Orlando to Dame Edith Evans' Rosalind in As You Like It.

Redgrave moved into films in 1938, starring in Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. He went on to have a long film career, with films including The Dam Busters, The Browning Version, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Mourning Becomes Electra, for which he received an Oscar nomination. He continued to have equal success on the stage, taking leading Shakespearean roles with The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company (later the Royal Shakespeare Company) at Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as principal parts in plays in London and on Broadway . His prolific stage career continued well into his sixties, and he continued to work despite the onset of Parkinson's disease, touring throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

The author of several books and plays, Michael Redgrave was involved in virtually all aspects of the Theatre, directing the opening festival of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford and becoming president of Questors Theatre, London. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire in 1952 and Knighted in 1959. He died in 1985 after a long battle against Parkinson's disease.


The original working order of this archive had largely been lost. It has therefore been divided into 16 series:

  • THM/31/1 - Scrapbooks and photograph albums
  • THM/31/2 - Photographs, negatives, and slides
  • THM/31/3 - Correspondence
  • THM/31/4 - Diaries and notebooks
  • THM/31/5 - Articles, lectures and publications
  • THM/31/6 - Scripts and typescripts of readings
  • THM/31/7 - Contracts
  • THM/31/8 - Financial records
  • THM/31/9 - Sound recordings
  • THM/31/10 - Images: posters, playbills and drawings
  • THM/31/11 - Books
  • THM/31/12 - Programmes and brochures
  • THM/31/13 - Press cuttings
  • THM/31/14 - Sheet music
  • THM/31/15 - Magazines
  • THM/31/16 - Miscellaneous

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Appraisal Information

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

Acquisition Information

The Sir Michael Redgrave Archive was acquired, catalogued, and conserved with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Further funding for acquisition of the Sir Michael Redgrave Archive was given by the Friends of the National Libraries. The archive was purchased from Rachel Kempson (Lady Redgrave) in 2000.

Custodial History

The archive was drawn together from various different sources prior to its sale to the Theatre Museum, including Rachel Kempson, Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Beattie and Co. (family solicitor), Mrs Joan Hirst (former secretary), and Anne Hutton Management.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also V&A Department of Theatre and Performance Core Collections: material relating to Michael Redgrave may be found in several collections, including biographical file, production files, company files and photographs. Please ask for details.


Findlater, Richard, Michael Redgrave, Actor. London: Heinemann, 1956. 170p., ill.

Kempson, Rachel, A Family and its Fortunes / Rachel Kempson, Lady Redgrave. London: Duckworth, 1986. 242p., [32]p. of plates, ill.

Redgrave, Corin, Michael Redgrave, My Father. London: R. Cohen, 1995. xiii, 176p., [16]p. of plates, ill., ports.

Redgrave, Michael, Sir, The Actor's Ways and Means. London: Heinemann, 1953. 90p., plates.

Redgrave, Michael, Sir, In My Mind's Eye. An Autobiography. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1983. viii, 256p., [24]p. of plates. ill. ports.

Redgrave, Michael, Sir, Mask or Face; Reflections in an Actor's Mirror. London: Heinemann, 1958. 188p., ill.

Redgrave, Michael, Sir, Mountebank's Tale. London: Heinemann, 1959. 135p.

Personal Names

Redgrave, Sir Michael Scudamore. ( 1908-1985)
Redgrave, Vanessa. ( 1937-)
Kempson, Rachel. ( 1910-2003)
Scudamore, Margaret. ( 1884-1958)
Redgrave, Lynn. ( 1943-2010)
Redgrave, Corin. ( 1939-2010)

Family Names

Redgrave family.

Corporate Names

Royal Shakespeare Company

Geographical Names

Old Vic Theatre, London, England
Questors Theatre, London, England
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guilford, England

Cataloguing Info

Title Sir Michael Redgrave Archive
Sub-title Catalogue of records in the Victoria & Albert Museum: Department of Theatre and Performance
Author Catalogued by Alexia Kirk
November 2008
  • Converted to EAD 2002 by Guy Baxter using Altova XMLSpy v2007
November 2008
  • Access restrictions updated by Guy Baxter.

Scrapbooks and photograph albums

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1
Dates of Creation 1901-1979
Physical Description 87 volumes

Scope and Content

Scrapbooks, mainly relating to the career of Sir Michael Redgrave, but also including those relating to Rachel Kempson and Margaret Scudamore. These contain press cuttings, reviews, programmes, letters and photographs. The series also contains photograph albums which include photographs of productions as well as personal photographs of the Redgrave family and their friends.


The series is divided into four sub-series:

  • THM/31/1/1 - Scrapbooks relating to Sir Michael Redgrave
  • THM/31/1/2 - Scrapbooks relating to Margaret Scudamore
  • THM/31/1/3 - Scrapbooks relating to Rachel Kempson
  • THM/31/1/4 - Photograph Albums

Scrapbooks relating to Sir Michael Redgrave

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1
Dates of Creation 1923-1979
Physical Description 61 volumes

Scope and Content

Scrapbooks mainly relating to the career of Michael Redgrave, from his early amateur performances at Clifton College and Cranleigh School, to the tours of Shakespeare's People which he undertook in the latter years of his life. The scrapbooks contain mainly newspaper cuttings, but also some photographs, programmes, and letters.

The sub-series also includes a scrapbook which relates to the Redgrave family as a whole, including cuttings relating to the early careers of Vanessa, Corin and Lynn Redgrave.


The scrapbooks are arranged in chronological order.

Scrapbook relating to Michael Redgrave's performances at Clifton College (1923-25), ADC Theatre (1926-32), and Cranleigh School (1932-33)

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/1
Dates of Creation 1923-1933

Scrapbook relating to Michael Redgrave's performances at the Liverpool Playhouse

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/2
Dates of Creation 1936 Feb-1937 Jan

Scrapbook relating to various performances by Michael Redgrave

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/3
Dates of Creation 1937


Includes references to As You Like It (New Theatre), The Bat , Shakespeare Birthday Festival (Old Vic), Three Set Out, Richard II (Queen's Theatre), School for Scandal, Three Sisters.

Scrapbook relating to The White Guard, Twelfth Night, and the Family Reunion, at the Phoenix Theatre

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/4
Dates of Creation 1938-1939

Scrapbook relating to Beggar's Opera and Thunder Rock

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/5
Dates of Creation 1940

Scrapbook containing cuttings relating to Michael Redgrave

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/6
Dates of Creation 1942 Jul-1943 Sept

Scrapbook relating to Thunder Rock, The Way to the Stars, and Dead of Night

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/7
Dates of Creation 1942-1945

Scrapbook containing cuttings relating to Michael Redgrave's 'Critics and Contemporaries'

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/8
Dates of Creation 1943-1944

Scrapbook containing cuttings relating to Michael Redgrave in Uncle Harry

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/9
Dates of Creation 1944

Scrapbook relating to Jacobowsky and the Colonel

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/10
Dates of Creation 1945

Scrapbook relating to The Captive Heart, The Years Between, and The Man Within

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/11
Dates of Creation 1946

Scrapbook relating to Macbeth and The Father

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/12
Dates of Creation 1947-1949

Scrapbook relating to the performances in New York of Macbeth

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/13
Dates of Creation 1948

Scrapbook relating to A Woman in Love, and The Father

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/14
Dates of Creation 1949 Jan- June

Scrapbook relating to the season at the Old Vic

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/15
Dates of Creation 1949-1950

Scrapbook relating to the Hamlet Continental Tour

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/16
Dates of Creation 1950

Scrapbook relating to Le Martyr de St Sebastien, The Seventh Man, Michael Redgrave's CBE, and other miscellaneous cuttings

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/17
Dates of Creation 1950-1954

Scrapbook relating to the season at Stratford-Upon-Avon

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/18
Dates of Creation 1951


Volume 1 of 2

Scrapbook relating to the season at Stratford-Upon-Avon

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/19
Dates of Creation 1951


Volume 2 of 2

Scrapbook relating to The Browning Version

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/20
Dates of Creation 1951


Volume 1 of 2

Scrapbook relating to The Browning Version, Mourning becomes Electra, and A Lady Vanishes

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/21
Dates of Creation 1951-1952


Volume 2 of 2

Scrapbook relating to Winter Journey and Uranium

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/22
Dates of Creation 1952

Scrapbook relating to The Magic Box and The Importance of Being Earnest

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/23
Dates of Creation 1952-1953

Scrapbook containing cuttings relating to Michael Redgrave's projects in New York

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/31/1/1/24
Dates of Creation 1952-1953