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Papers of ACTAC Theatrical and Cinematic, agents of Christopher Fry

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/405
Dates of Creation 1930s-2002
Name of Creator Emanual and Thelma Wax
Language of Material English
Physical Description 8 boxes

Scope and Content

The archive consists of correspondence, contracts and licences, receipts, playbills, typed copies or excerpts of plays, receipts and invoices, leaflets/playbills relating to Christopher Fry and the use of his work. Christopher Fry personal/legal papers and correspondence. Emanuel Wax’s literary work. The collection dates from the 1930s to 2002.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1 May 1911 in London. Educated in London, Lausanne and Frankfurt before attending the University of Lille and New College, Oxford, graduating with First Class Honours in Law. Appointed Honourary Treasurer of the Incorporated Stage Society, a play producing society which introduced to the English stage Tchekov, Pirandello and Odets, along with Somerset Maugham, R.C. Sheriff and John Van Druten.

Here Wax translated several plays from French, including La Paix and Tsar Lenin by Francois Porche, Angelica by Leo Ferrero and Il ne faut jurer de rien by Alfred de Musset. All of these plays were presented by the Stage Society between 1936 and 1939. Wax also translated Denis Johnston’s Moon in the Yellow River into French. Wartime service was spent in the Intelligence Corps where he rose to the rank of Major.

After the war, Wax became a literary agent, where he 'discovered' Christopher Fry, John Osbourne and Harold Pinter (he still represented Fry and Pinter as of 1962). He also worked as a producer for various West End productions and ran a summer stock theatre in Ilfracombe, North Devon. From 1945, Wax translated Labiche's Les 300 Millions de Gladiator, three plays by Armand Salacrou, Maulnier's La Maison de la Nuit, Gert Wayman's Generationen and Francois Porche's Le Lever du Soleil.

Wax's agency ACTAC Theatrical and Cinematic, was established in 1946. Emanuel Wax was married to Thelma (née Carvey). He died in 1983. ACTAC was presumably then headed by Wax's widow Thelma, who was principal agent of Christopher Fry in the 1990s/2000s.

Conditions Governing Access

A more detailed list of this collection can be obtained by contacting tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk. Please note that this collection has not yet been fully appraised, catalogued and re-housed. A notice of 20 working days is required in order to facilitate access to this collection in line with Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation.

Collections are 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.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Appraisal Information

Appraisal in line with the collection policy has not yet taken place.

Acquisition Information

In 2006 the Christopher Fry Archive (THM/319) was bequeathed to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Some of the papers transferred were those of his agent Emanuel Wax, which were separated into this individual archival collection.


No accruals expected.

Other Finding Aids

A more detailed list of this collection may be obtained by contacting tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Emanuel Wax may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.


Theatrical Agents -- England

Personal Names

Wax, Emanuel. ( 1911-1983)
Wax, Thelma

Corporate Names

ACTAC Theatrical and Cinematic

Cataloguing Info

Title Papers of ACTAC Theatrical and Cinematic, agents of Christopher Fry
Creation Created by Ramona Riedzewski using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2011-08-17