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THM/380 - Richard Matthews Collection of E. Martin Browne Materials

Richard Matthews Collection of E. Martin Browne Materials

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This material is held atV&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/380
Dates of Creation1920s - 1970s
Name of CreatorRichard Matthews
Language of Material English
Physical Description 4 boxes (34 folders and 7 items)

Scope and Content

This collection contains materials relating to the career of E. Martin Browne, including production materials (notes, correspondence, photographs), published and unpublished works and essays, a typescript of Browne's book The Making of T.S. Eliot's Plays and collected research materials for Richard Matthews' dissertation on Browne; E. Martin Browne, His Life and Work.

Administrative / Biographical History

E. (Elliott) Martin Browne (1900-1980) was a British theatre director and writer. Born in Zeals, Wiltshire in 1900, Elliott Martin Browne was educated at Eton and Oxford where he studied History and Theology.

Following his graduation he worked as the religious drama advisor for Kent county council. In 1924 he married Henzie Raeburn, with whom he had two sons. She was involved in his work and appeared in some of his productions. In the 1920s he worked for a time as warden of an educational settlement in Doncaster and was later appointed Assistant Professor of Drama at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (USA).

Returning to England in 1930 Browne began work as the director of religious drama of Chichester. A collaboration between Browne and T.S. Eliot at the request of George Bell (Bishop of Chichester) produced Murder in the Cathedral, which after playing at the Canterbury Festival transferred to London and enjoyed a successful run which lasted almost an entire year. The two would continue this working relationship for the next 20 years, with Eliot as poet-playwright to Browne’s director. Browne succeeded Bishop Bell as President of RADIUS, the Religious Drama Society of Great Britain.

In 1939 Browne directed Eliot’s The Family Reunion in London and with help from the Arts Council launched his own touring theatre company; The Pilgrim Players. They toured until 1948 with a repertoire dominated by the works of Eliot.

In 1945 Browne took over the running of the Mercury Theatre in Notting Hill and spent the next three years directing modern verse plays there, including works by Christopher Fry. From 1948 to 1957 he was director of the British Drama League, and in 1951 became the director of the first major production of the York Mystery Cycle since the sixteenth century, a job he repeated in 1954, 1957 and 1966.

Browne spent some of the 1960s as drama advisor to Coventry Cathedral, and directed the medieval mystery plays there in 1962 and 1964, later working as director at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. He was appointed a CBE in 1952 and remarried in 1974 following the death of Raeburn. He died in 1980.

Arrangement

This collection has been organised into the following series:

  • THM/380/1 - Production-related materials
  • THM/380/2 - Publications
  • THM/380/3 - Typescript of The Making of T.S. Eliot's Plays
  • THM/380/4 - Published essays written by Browne
  • THM/380/5 - Richard Matthews: dissertation materials

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

Archival 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 Richard Matthews, 2010.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material relating to E. Martin Browne, as well as the Pilgrim Players Theatre Company may be found in several collections including the biographical, productions, and company files, as well as the library and costume design collections.

Please ask for details.

Separated Material

The following books, publications and prompt-books have been separated and added to our library or prompt-book collections:

  • Prompt-book: The Family Reunion; Westminster Theatre. Annotated and includes stage action diagrams, 1939.
  • Prompt-book: Coriolanus; Old Vic Theatre, starring Alec Guinness and John Clements. Annotated, 1948.
  • Prompt-book: The Firstborn; produced at the Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh as part of the 1948 Edinburgh Festival. Annotated and includes light and curtain cues, a stage plot diagram, a cast contact list and technical stage information, 1948.
  • Prompt-book: The Way of the Cross; Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, North Carolina (USA). Annotated, includes stage diagrams and rehearsal schedules, 1959.
  • Prompt-book: The Family Reunion; Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. Annotated and includes stage action diagrams, 1969.
  • Book: Robert Speaight, Drama since 1939 (London: Longmans, 1947).
  • Book: J.C. Trewin, Drama 1945-1950 (London: Longmans, 1951).
  • Book: The Year’s Work in the Theatre, 1949-1950, (London: Longmans, 1950).
  • Book: P.W. Turner: Cry Dawn in Dark Babylon – A dramatic meditation for a cast of four men and four women, (London, SPCK, 1959).
  • Book: E. Martin Browne: Verse in the Modern English Theatre, (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1963).
  • Book: Henzie Raeburn: Beginning of the Way, (Boston: Baker’s Plays, 1960).
  • Pamphlet: A Brief Historical Sketch of the Religious Drama Society of Great Britain, 1959.

Personal Names

Browne,  Elliott Martin. ( 1900-1980) 
Raeburn,  Henzie. ( 1900-1973) 
Fry,  Christopher. ( 1907-2005) 
Eliot,  Thomas Stearn. ( 1888-1965) 
Guinness,  Alec. ( 1914-2000) 
Clements,  John.  Sir ( 1910-1988) 

Cataloguing Info

TitleRichard Matthews Collection of E. Martin Browne Materials
CreationCreated by Veronica Castro using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2012-08-02
Revisions

Production-related materials

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1
Dates of Creation1932-1968
Physical Description 16 folders

Scope and Content

This series contains materials related to works either directed by Browne or those with which he had some connection. Authors include William Shakespeare, Christopher Fry, T.S. Eliot and Henri Gheon.

Personal Names

Shakespeare,  William. ( 1564-1616) 
Fry,  Christopher. ( 1907-2005) 
Eliot,  Thomas Stearns. ( 1888-1965) 
Ghéon,  Henri. ( 1875-1944) 

Carnegie Institute of Technology productions

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/1
Dates of Creation1928-1930
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains black and white photographs of the following productions at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburg (USA):

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1928.
  • King Lear, 1928.
  • The Tidings Brought to Mary, 1928.
  • The Trojan Woman, 1929.
  • The Virgin and the Clerk, 1930.


The Coming of Christ

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/2
Dates of Creation1931-1932
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains three black and white photographs of a 1932 production of The Coming of Christ at Lancing, Sussex.


Disarm

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/3
Dates of Creation1932
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains one black and white photograph of a 1932 production of Disarm at St. Anne's Church, London.


The Acts of Saint Peter

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/4
Dates of Creation1932-1933
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains copies of correspondence between British poet Gordon Bottomley and Browne relating to a 1933 production of The Acts of Saint Peter commissioned by Exeter Cathedral for its octocentenary. Matthews obtained these in March 1969. An index list of the correspondence is included.

Personal Names

Bottomley,  Gordon. ( 1874-1948) 

The Acts of Saint Richard

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/5
Dates of Creation1933
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains one black and white photograph of the 1933 production of The Acts of Saint Richard at the Chichester Palace Garden.


Murder in the Cathedral

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/6
Dates of Creation1935
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains one black and white photograph of the 1935 production of T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral at the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral, as part of the Canterbury Festival. Browne directed this production. Also includes an annotated typescript of an essay detailing the history of the play and the Festival at Canterbury Cathedral, undated.

Personal Names

Eliot,  Thomas Stearns. ( 1888-1965) 

Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/7
Dates of Creation1936
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains two black and white photographs of the 1936 production of Charles Williams' Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury, at Canterbury Chapter House as part of the Canterbury Festival.

Personal Names

Williams,  Charles. ( 1886-1945) 

The Family Reunion

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/8
Dates of Creation1939
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains a stage plan diagram and one black and white photograph for a 1939 production of T.S. Eliot's The Family Reunion at the Westminster Theatre, London.

Personal Names

Eliot,  Thomas Stearns. ( 1888-1965) 

Geographical Names

Westminster Theatre, London

The Firstborn

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/9
Dates of Creation1948-1950
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains a letter to Browne from Christopher Fry concerning script alterations dated 1950 which relates to the 1948 production at the Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

Personal Names

Fry,  Christopher. ( 1907-2005) 

Geographical Names

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

York Mystery Cycle

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/10
Dates of Creation1954-1966
Physical Description 1 volume

Scope and Content

Contains one photograph album of black and white photographs of two productions of the York Mystery Cycle; 1954 and 1966.


The Way of the Cross

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/11
Dates of Creation1959
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains two programmes for 1959 productions of Ghéon Henri's The Way of the Cross in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, North Carolina (USA) and a stage diagram.

Personal Names

Ghéon,  Henri. ( 1875-1944) 

Geographical Names

Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh

Mysteries in Winchester

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/12
Dates of Creation1965
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains one programme for Mysteries in Winchester which contain an introduction written by Browne, three black and white photographs of the production and a number of print negatives, 1965.


The Family Reunion

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/13
Dates of Creation1968
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains a stage plan diagram and loose notes for a 1968 production of T.S. Eliot's The Family Reunion at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.


The Cardinal of Spain

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/14
Dates of Creation1969
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains one programme pamphlet for a 1969 production of Henry de Montherlant's The Cardinal of Spain, in which appeared Henzie Raeburn.

Personal Names

de Montherlant,  Henri. ( 1895-1972) 
Raeburn,  Henzie. ( 1900-1973) 

Mixed unidentified productions

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/15
Dates of Creation1932-1933
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains black and white photographs for two unidentified productions, undated.


Print negatives

Reference Number(s)THM/380/1/16
Dates of Creation1932-1933
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains print negative and negative slides corresponding to a selection of the production photographs in this series.


Publications

Reference Number(s)THM/380/2
Dates of Creation1961-1966
Physical Description 2 folders

Scope and Content

This series contains an autographed copy of Browne's The Making of a Play / T.S. Eliot's The Cocktail Party and one annotated copy of Henzie Raeburn's The Green Wood, as well as issues of journals which feature written works by Browne and essays removed from periodicals. All materials dated c. 1940s-1960s.


Autographed copy of The Making of a Play

Reference Number(s)THM/380/2/1
Dates of Creation1966
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains one copy of Browne's work The Making of a Play / T.S. Eliot's "The Cocktail Party" (Cambridge University Press, 1966) dedicated to Matthews from Browne on cover.