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THM/69 - Michael Benthall Archive, 1935-1973
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Michael Benthall Archive, 1935-1973

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69
Dates of Creation 1935-1973
Name of Creator Michael Benthall
Language of Material English
Physical Description 45 boxes

Scope and Content

Comprehensive archive covering Benthall's career as director, which included notable Shakespearean productions at Stratford in the late 1940s and at the Old Vic, as well as plays and operas in London and New York. This archive includes programmes, playtexts, scrapbooks, and audio tapes.

Administrative / Biographical History

Michael Benthall made his professional debut in 1938 as an actor, initially playing small parts. His career as a director began in the 1940s. He was director of the Old Vic for nine years from 1953, during which time he embarked on a 'Five Year Plan', staging all 36 plays in the first folio of Shakespeare. He was also known for his contributions to opera, ballet and contemporary theatre.

Arrangement

The material in this archive is arranged chronologically or alphabetically by production where indicated.

  • THM/69/1 - Administrative documents
  • THM/69/2 - Production files
  • THM/69/3 - Touring files
  • THM/69/4 - Scripts
  • THM/69/5 - Musical Scores
  • THM/69/6 - Sound Recordings
  • THM/69/7 - Scrapbooks of Michael Benthall's productions,
  • THM/69/8 - Photographs
  • THM/69/9 - Programmes

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.

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 Michael Benthall's productions, as well as the 20th century theatre in general may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.

Subjects

Theater - Great Britain - History - 20th century
Theatrical producers and directors - Great Britain

Personal Names

Benthall, Michael

Corporate Names

Old Vic Company

Cataloguing Info

Title Michael Benthall Archive, 1935-1973
Creation Created by intern using the Archives Hub EAD Editor 2014-04-07
Revisions

Administrative documents

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1
Dates of Creation 1952-1964
Physical Description 2 boxes

Scope and Content

This series contains documents pertaining to the Old Vic Trust, the Joint Council of the National Theatre and Governors of the Royal Victoria Hall including financial statements, correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes.

Arrangement

Material arranged chronologically.


Documents pertaining to the Old Vic Trust Limited

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/1
Dates of Creation 1952-1964
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains documents pertaining to the Old Vic Trust Limited including meeting agendas and minutes, liquidation paperwork, financial statements and correspondence.


Financial reports pertaining to the Old Vic Theatre Company

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/2
Dates of Creation 1953-1961
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains financial reports and budgets for the Old Vic Theatre Company covering the years between 1953-1961.


Working file for the 1956-1957 season at the Old Vic

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/3
Dates of Creation 1956-1957
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains documents pertaining to the 1956-1957 season at the Old Vic including cast lists, schedules and correspondence.


Minutes from the meetings of the Governors of the Royal Victoria Hall

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/4
Dates of Creation 1958-1962
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains agendas and minutes for meetings of the Governors of the Royal Victoria Hall covering the years between 1958-1962.


Working file for the 1959-1960 season at the Old Vic

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/5
Dates of Creation 1959-1960
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains documents pertaining to the 1959-1960 season at the Old Vic including repertoire, cast lists, schedules and budget.


Minutes from meetings of the Old Vic Trust Limited

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/6
Dates of Creation 1959-1962
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains agendas and minutes from meetings of the Old Vic Trust Limited covering the years between 1959-1962.


Documents pertaining to the Joint Council of the National Theatre

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/7
Dates of Creation 1959-1961
Physical Description 2 folders

Scope and Content

This file contains documents pertaining to the Joint Council of the National Theatre including meeting agendas and minutes as well as correspondence.


Box office receipts for the Old Vic Theatre

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/8
Dates of Creation 1961-1962
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains box office receipts and figures for the Old Vic Theatre covering the 1961-1962 season.


Lecture notes

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/1/9
Dates of Creation 1935-1973
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains notes for lectures given by Michael Benthall.


Production files

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2
Dates of Creation 1950-1969
Physical Description 9 boxes

Scope and Content

This series contains working files for a number of Michael Benthall's productions at Stratford, the Old Vic and in New York. Files include cast lists, producer's scripts, lighting and costume plots, stage plans and correspondence. Some scripts and scores have been retained in these production files to preserve the original order of the archive.

Arrangement

Material arranged chronologically.


Production file for As You Like It by William Shakespeare, 1950

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/1
Dates of Creation 1950
Physical Description 1 folder, 1 volume

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of As You Like It by William Shakespeare starring Katharine Hepburn. It also contains the producer's script with handwritten annotations.


Production file for The Millionairess by George Bernard Shaw, 1952

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/2
Dates of Creation 1952
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of The Millionairess by George Bernard Shaw starring Katharine Hepburn.


Production file for Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, 1955

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/3
Dates of Creation 1955
Physical Description 1 folder, 1 volume

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to production of Julius Caesar for the 1955 season at the Old Vic and the 1955 Edinburgh Festival. It also contains the producer's script with handwritten annotations.


Production file for Richard II by William Shakespeare, 1955

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/4
Dates of Creation 1955
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of Richard II by William Shakespeare including a copy of a cartoon of John Neville and Eric Porter by Ronald Searle.


Production file for The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare, 1955

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/5
Dates of Creation 1955
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare at the Old Vic.


Production file for Cymbeline by William Shakespeare, 1956

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/6
Dates of Creation 1956
Physical Description 1 folder, 1 volume

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of Cymbeline by William Shakespeare at the Old Vic. It also includes the producer's script with handwritten annotations.


Production file for Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare, 1956

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/7
Dates of Creation 1956
Physical Description 1 folder, 1 volume

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare at the Old Vic. It also includes the producer's script with handwritten annotations.


Production file for Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare, 1956

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/8
Dates of Creation 1956
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare at the Old Vic.


Production file for A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, 1957

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/9
Dates of Creation 1957
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare at the Old Vic including musical scores and typescripts.


Production file for Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/10
Dates of Creation 1957-1958
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to an unproduced version of Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare at the Old Vic.


Production file for Henry VIII by William Shakespeare, 1958

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/11
Dates of Creation 1958
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of Henry VIII by William Shakespeare at the Old Vic.


Production file for H.M. the Queen's royal visit to the Old Vic, 1958

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/12
Dates of Creation 1958
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the royal visit of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II to the Old Vic on 18 March 1958.


Production for for The Cenci by Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1959

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/69/2/13
Dates of Creation 1959
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file contains material pertaining to the production of The Cenci by Percy Bysshe Shelley at the Old Vic.