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THM/365 - Elsie Griffin and Ivan Menzies, opera singers and actors: papers
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Elsie Griffin and Ivan Menzies, opera singers and actors: papers

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This material is held at V&A Museum: Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365
Dates of Creation 1905-2007
Name of Creator Elsie Griffin Ivan Menzies
Language of Material English
Physical Description 120 Files

Scope and Content

This collection consists of material relating to Menzies' and Griffin's careers. It includes production programmes, photographs, correspondence, song sheets and press cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Elsie Griffin was born on December 6, 1895 in Bristol. She made her stage debut during World War I with Lena Ashwell's Company, formed at the request of King George V to entertain Britain's troops in France. The lyricist Fred E. Weatherby, impressed by her voice, brought her his song, "Danny Boy". Her singing resulted in one of the most popular hits of the era.

Griffin joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1919, immediately appearing on tour as Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Kate in Yeomen of the Guard, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers. In 1921, she added the roles of Yum-Yum in The Mikado and Rose Maybud in Ruddigore. In 1927, she left the company but returned from time to time to participate in recordings. Between 1934 and 1937 she joined with the Carl Rosa Opera Company, singing the leading soprano roles in Die Fledermaus, The Barber of Seville, Carmen, The Tales of Hoffman, Pagliacci and Elixir of Love.

Ivan Menzies was born on March 23, 1896 in Bristol. He joined D'Oyly Carte on Easter 1921 as an understudy to Sir Henry Lytton. Menzies became the principal comedian in 1925, playing Reginald Bunthorne in Patience, Lord Chancellor and Ko-Ko in The Mikado and Robin Oakapple in Ruddigore. In 1927 Menzies left the company. In 1931 Menzies accepted an offer with the J. C. Williamson organisation in Australia. There he toured extensively as Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore and also as General Stanley, Bunthorne, the Lord Chancellor, Ko-Ko, Jack Point and the Duke of Plaza Toro. He returned to England and D'Oyly Carte Opera Company briefly in 1939 as a wartime replacement. He then returned to Australia again as principal comedian in the Gilbert & Sullivan tours in 1941, 1944, 1949 and 1951.

Menzies and Griffin met when Menzies joined the D'Oyly Carte Company in 1921. They married in Sheffield March 9, 1921 at a registry office in Workhouse Lane, between performances. Their last stage appearance was in the Moral Re-Armament musical The Vanishing Island, in which they toured the world from 1955 until 1957. Ivan Menzies died April 19, 1985 and Elsie Griffin died December 21, 1989.

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged chronologically in the following series:

  • THM/365/1 - Programmes, Brochures and Posters
  • THM/365/2 - Photographs
  • THM/365/3 - Correspondence
  • THM/365/4 - Press Cuttings
  • THM/365/5 - Music Sheets

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 these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Archive material may not be photocopied. Arrangements can be made to photograph material in the reading room using non-flash photography.

Appraisal Information

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

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mahala Menzies, 2007

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also Theatre & Performance Core Collections: material relating to Elsie Griffin and Ivan Menzies may be found in several collections, including Theatre & Performance production files and photographs. Related material also found in the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company (THM/73). Please ask for details.

The published book The Song of a Merryman, Ivan Menzies of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company,1976 and a single copy typescript of the play Aladdin 1934 have been removed and transferred to the V&A Theatre & Performance Collections Library.

Subjects

Opera

Personal Names

Menzies, Ivan. ( 1896)
Griffin, Elsie

Cataloguing Info

Title Elsie Griffin and Ivan Menzies, opera singers and actors: papers
Sub-title Catalogue of records in the Victoria & Albert Museum: Department of Theatre and Performance
Author Catalogued by Ciara Whooley
Revisions

Programmes, Brochures and Posters

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1
Dates of Creation 1926-2007
Physical Description 26 Files

Scope and Content

Mostly programmes, brochures and posters of opera productions featuring Elsie Griffin and Ivan Menzies

Administrative / Biographical History


The Opera House, Manchester Programme for the performance of Warior's Day

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/1
Dates of Creation 1921
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

A special matinee of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. Ivan Menzies joined D'Oyly and met Elsie Griffin.


Theatre Royal Drury Lane Programme

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/2
Dates of Creation 1926
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

A special Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Fund Matinee, in which the King and Queen attended.


Tower Palace and Grand Souvenir Programme for the production of Happy-Go-Lucky

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/3
Dates of Creation 1927
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content


The Ocean Theatre Souvenir Programme for the performance of Balgantschina

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/4
Dates of Creation 1928
Physical Description 1 folder

The Pavilion Torquay Programme for a short recital of vocal music

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/5
Dates of Creation 1928
Physical Description 1 folder

The Palladium Oxford Circus, Grand Concert Programme and Words

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/6-7
Dates of Creation 9 Dec - 16 Dec 1928
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Production ran from December 9th - December 16th, 1928.


Catlin's Royal Pierrots Programme

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/8
Dates of Creation 1929
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Featuring Ivan Menzies in comedy cameos.


The London Coliseum Programme

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/9
Dates of Creation 1929
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Featuring Elsie Griffin and Kingsley Lark.


Daly's Theatre Programme for the production of Charley's Aunt

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/10
Dates of Creation 1929-1930
Physical Description 1 folder

His Majesty's Theatre Aberdeen Programme featuring the production of No, No Nanette

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/11
Dates of Creation 1930
Physical Description 1 folder

Opera House Cape Town Programme for the production of Lilac Time

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/12
Dates of Creation 1933
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Includes a press cutting from The Bristol Evening Post.


Theatre Royal Newcastle Programme for the production of Wild Violets

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/13
Dates of Creation 1933
Physical Description 1 folder

The Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham Programme for the performance of Faust

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/14
Dates of Creation 1934
Physical Description 1 folder

Prince Edward Theatre Programme for the performance of Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/15
Dates of Creation 1934
Physical Description 1 folder

Bournemouth Pavilion Programme for the production of Tales of Hoffmann

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/16
Dates of Creation 1935
Physical Description 1 folder

The Pavilion Perth Programme featuring the performance of Elsie Griffin in Sunshine Follies

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/17
Dates of Creation 1935
Physical Description 1 folder

Dublin Philharmonic Society Programme of Handel's Messiah

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/18
Dates of Creation 1935
Physical Description 1 folder

Lyceum Theatre Programme for the production of Die Fledermaus

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/19
Dates of Creation 1937
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

By the Carl Rosa Opera Company.


Savoy Theatre Programme for the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, 25 March to 5 April

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/20
Dates of Creation 1975
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Includes two tickets for the The Grand Duke show.


Brochure of Theatre Royal Guildford featuring Good Morning Bill

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/21
Dates of Creation 1929
Physical Description 1 folder

Brochure of Friends News issued by the Friends of Westminster productions

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/22
Dates of Creation 2007
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Includes a review of Mother Goose by Mahala Menzies


Poster for Balagantschina at Ocean Theatre on the Pier, Clacton-on Sea

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/23
Dates of Creation 1928
Physical Description 1 folder

Poster for Good Morning Bill production at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/24
Dates of Creation 1929
Physical Description 1 folder

Poster for Lyric Theatre, Sir Nigel Playfair's A Grand Diversion

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/25
Dates of Creation 1929
Physical Description 1 folder

Poster for Aladdin and His Magic Lamp at Prince Edward Theatre

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/1/26
Dates of Creation 1934-1935
Physical Description 1 folder

Photographs

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/2
Dates of Creation ca.1905-1979
Physical Description 48 Files

Scope and Content

The majority of these photographs are black and white. Mostly production photos but includes childhood photos of Elsie Griffin and images of the couple together.


Photographs of Elsie Griffin as a young child

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/2/1
Dates of Creation ca.1905
Physical Description 2 items

Photograph of Elsie Griffin as 'Mabel' in Pirates of Penzance

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/365/2/2
Dates of Creation 1919
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

By the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.