Reference and contact details:
GB 0181 SxMs 37
Title: The Benn W. Levy Papers
Dates of creation: 1945-1973
Held at: University of Sussex Library
Extent: 10 boxes; 4 cubic feet
Name of Creator: Levy, Benn Wolfe (1900-1974)
Level of Description: fonds
Language of Material: eng
Playwright and theatre director, Benn Wolfe Levy (1900-1974) was born in London and educated at Repton School and University College, Oxford. He served in the Royal Air Force in 1918 and in the Royal Navy in the Second World War. In 1945 he was elected Labour Member of Parliament for Eton and Slough which he represented until 1950, when he returned to writing for the theatre. While in parliament he introduced a Private Member's Bill to abolish the Lord Chamberlain's censorship of the theatre which, although unsuccessful for procedural reasons in 1949, was effectively passed 18 years later. He served on the Executive of the Arts Council from 1953 to 1961 and was Chairman of the League of British Dramatists for the following four years. Other causes with which he was associated include the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the National Council for Civil Liberties. The contents of this archive fully reflect his involvement with justice for the theatre and concern with civil rights.
The following are the titles of the groups of files, using Levy's subject descriptions. The groups include correspondence (sent and received), papers for meetings, printed leaflets and press-cuttings. Dates are of material directly associated with Levy; files may contain earlier printed items.
Arts & Amenities, on financing projects in the arts; 1963-1969
Arts Council of Great Britain, Sub-committee on Theatre Taxation; 1955-1957
Arts Council of Great Britain: Theatre Censorship Reform Committee; Arts Council Committee of Enquiry into Theatre Censorship; Joint Committee on Censorship of the Theatre; 1952-1967
Arts Council of Great Britain: Working Party on Obscenity Laws; 1966-1971
British Theatre Conference 1948
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; 1959-1972
Campaign for the Limitation of Secret Police Powers; 1956-1970
Causes (miscellaneous); 1956-1968
Censorship of Plays (Repeal) Bill 1949
Cinematograph Films Bill 1948
Common Market; 1960-1973
Council for the Defence of Seretse Khama and the Protectorates; 1952-1953
Defence of Literature and the Arts Society; 1970-1973
Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War; 1958-1961
Entertainment Arts Socialist Association; 1958-1959
European Congress for Nuclear Disarmament 1959
Fabian Society, miscellaneous; 1949-1959
Fabian Society, Group studying the future of broadcasting; 1949
Independent Nuclear Disarmament Election Committee (Indec)
Labour Party: Constituency parties; 'Leisure for living' group; Recreation and Leisure Working Party; 1959-1966
Labour Party: Films Sub-Committee, Trade and Industry Group; 1945-1947
League of British Dramatists Committee; 1929-1940
League of British Dramatists, Radio and Television Safeguards Committee; 1953-1961
Movement for Colonial Freedom; 1954-1967
National Council for Civil Liberties; 1950-1963
People for the People, ed. David Rubinstein; 1963
Tibor Dery Committee; 1959-1960
Unesco International Conference of Artists. Venice 1952
Unity Theatre Society; 1948
Vassall Case; 1963
Victory for Socialism; 1958-1960
Voluntary Lapsed Copyright Scheme; 1953-1957
Writings of Benn Levy; 1947-1972
Presented in 1978 by Levy's widow, the actress Constance Cummings.
Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Special Collections Reading Rooms.
COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, the Library can supply, at a charge, photocopies, photographs or digital copies.
PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.
A handlist is available in the Library and also on its website.