University of Bristol Theatre Collection Drama Queens Exhibition Catalogue
There is a long history of men playing female roles, from Greek tragedies to Elizabethan England, where characters such as Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth and Juliet were acted by boys. By the 17 th century this was declared unnatural, and female roles were played by actresses. Men dressing as women however continued as a tradition of carnival time, when the norms are turned upside down. In pantomime the comic mother figure or dame is usually played by an older male comedian, and the principal boy is often played by a woman. Another type of drag queen, the female impersonator, often played by a comedian but wearing more glamorous make up and outfits, arose from 19 th century variety shows and continues to be popular in the 21 st century. Publicity photograph of Chris Harris as Nurse Nellie of Knowle. Babes in the Wood, Bristol Old Vic, 30th November 2000 – 27th January 2001. Photo credit Bob Willingham. Publicity photograph of Patrick Miller as the Hon-Gertrude Hardup and Mark Buffrey as the Hon-Gladys Hardup. Cinderella, Bristol Old Vic, 6th December 1996– 25th January 1997, by Chirs Denys and Chis Harris. Chris Harris co-wrote nine pantomimes at the Bristol Old Vic in collaboration with Chris Denys. He also played the pantomime dames, including the wonderful Nurse Nellie of Knowle, to great critical acclaim. Publicity photograph of Chris Harris as Sarah the Cook, formerly the celebrated biscuit baker of Bedminster Down. Dick Whittington, by Chris Denys and Chris Harris, Bristol Old Vic, 8 th December 1995– 27th January 1996. Director Christopher Denys, Designer Geoffrey Scott, Composer Andrew Allpass Chris Harris has appeared in Aladdin, Mother Goose, Jack and the Beanstalk, Dick Whittington, Cinderella and Babes in the Wood with the Bristol Old Vic. The pantomimes proved so popular that the company received a citation from the Bristol Chamber of Commerce for their magnificent contribution to the life of the city. Production photograph of Alan Rickman and Harold Innocent as Ma and Pa Ubu. Ubu Rex, New Vic Studio, Bristol, 25th October 1977. (1977 – 1978). Director Adrian Noble, Designer John McMurray, Composer John Telfer, Author Alfred Jarry. Ref. BOV/NVP/53/13 In Alfred Jarry‟s absurdist play Ubu Rex, Pa Ubu is a grotesque dictator whose rise to power is encouraged by his wife, Ma Ubu. The character of Ma Ubu, who schemes and plots her way through the narrative, has frequently been compared to that of Lady Macbeth. Production photograph of Russell Hunter playing Lord Fancourt Babberley (impersonating Charley’s Aunt) and Frank Middlemiss as Stephen Spettigue by Desmond Tripp. Charley’s Aunt at the Bristol Old Vic, 1964 – 1965, 20th Season. Director Denis Carey, Designer Graham Barlow, Author Brandon Thomas, Costumes by Audrey Price. Ref. BOV/P/000216/5
In this classic Victorian farce, two university friends persuade their upper-crust classmate to impersonate their wacky aunt from Brazil, and act as their chaperone for an afternoon with the ladies they are hopelessly in love with. Production photograph of Michael Rothwell as Lord Fancourt Babberley impersonating Charley’s Aunt by Derek Balmer. Charley’s Aunt by the Bristol Old Vic Company at the Little Theatre, Bristol, Autumn 1971 (1971 – 1972). Director John David, Designer Alex Day, Author Brandon Thomas. Ref. BOV/LTP/OCO/07/7
Queens of Shakespeare
Production photograph of Fay Compton as Queen Margaret, by Angus McBean Richard III, Old Vic, London, 1957 Director: Douglas Seale Ref: OVP/28/6/48 (above) Queen Margaret was the wife of Henry VI and appears in both Henry VI and Richard III. In Henry VI she is a warrior queen, but she appears in Richard III as a curse to Richard and the House of York. Publicity photograph of Robert Helpmann as Richard III and Fay Compton as Queen Margaret, from the Sport and General Press Agency Ref: OVP/28/6/18 (left) Robert Helpmann was slated by the critics for his performance in this production as they too easily compared it to Laurence Olivier's performance in the film version that had been released a few years earlier in 1954. However, Fay Compton was acclaimed for adding more fiery hatred to the play than the rest of the cast put together
Production photograph of Judi Dench as Princess Katherine, with Jane Downs as her English companion, Alice, by Angus McBean Henry V, Old Vic Tour, America & Canada, February 1959 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/47/2/31 (above) "Comment appellez vous le pied et la robe?" The Princess of France receives a lesson in English from her English companion Alice. Production photograph of Donald Houston as King Henry V, Walter Hudd as the King of France and Judi Dench as Princess Katherine, by Angus McBean Henry V, Old Vic, London, 1960 Director: John Neville Ref: OVP/31/3/44 (right) Henry sought Katherine's hand after his accession and demanded the possessions of the English Norman and Angevin Kings within France as dowry. When King Charles refused, Henry went to war with him, winning both bride and territory. Katherine was married to Henry in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes in 1421. Character portrait of Margaret Courtenay as Gertrude, Queen of Denmark by Angus McBean Hamlet, Old Vic Tour, America & Canada, 1959
Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/47/1/45 Queen Gertrude comes to an end when she drinks from the poisoned cup meant for Hamlet, leading to her death, and revealing Claudius‟ treachery. Character portrait of Violet Vanburgh as Lady Macbeth as the Queen Macbeth, His Majesty's Theatre, London, 1911 Producer: Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree Ref:HBT/PH1/1/4 Production photograph of Judi Dench as Katherine, Princess of France and Laurence Harvey as King Henry, by Angus McBean Henry V, Old Vic Tour, America & Canada Tour, 1959 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/47/2/29 Publicity photograph of Dorothy Tutin as Princess Katherine in her dressing room having a cup of tea, by the Daily Mail Henry V, Old Vic, London, 1951 Director: Glen Byam Shaw Production photograph of Fay Compton as Gertrude, Queen of Denmark and Richard Burton as Hamlet, by Angus McBean Hamlet, Old Vic, London, 1953-1954 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/25/3/20 Production and publicity photographs of Ann Todd as Lady Macbeth and Paul Rogers as Macbeth by Houston Rogers and Central Press Photos Ltd Macbeth, Old Vic, London,1954 Director: Michael Benthall Refs: OVP/26/5/25, 7 Production photograph of Virginia McKenna as Isabel and John Neville as Richard II, by Houston Rogers Richard II, Old Vic, London, 1955 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/26/6/7 Referred to only as Richard II‟s queen in the text of the play, Isabel of Valois, daughter of Charles VI of France, was married to Richard in 1396 at the tender age of six. Production photograph of Alec McCowen as Richard II and Judi Dench as his Queen, by Houston Rogers Richard II, Old Vic, London, 1960 Director: Val May Ref: OVP/31/6/58 Alec McCowen and Judi Dench took over the title roles in Richard II in Val May's production in the summer of 1960.
Production photograph of John Justin as Richard II and Maggie Smith as his Queen, by Houston Rogers Richard II, Old Vic, London 1959 Director: Val May Ref: OVP/31/6/52 The role of the Queen in Richard II was the first dramatic role for Maggie Smith, who had previously made her name in comic revues, such as Share My Lettuce with Kenneth Williams. Production photographs of Gwen Ffrangcon Davies as Queen Katherine by Houston Rogers Henry VIII, Old Vic, London, 1953 Director: Tyrone Guthrie Refs: OVP/24/1/29, 2 Katherine of Aragon (1485-1536) was married to Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII, in 1501; Arthur died the next year, and Catherine was rapidly betrothed to his brother Henry in order to avoid repayment of her substantial dowry. They were married within two months of Henry‟s accession to the throne as Henry VIII. Both of her sons died young; Mary was her only surviving child. Character portrait of Mrs Sarah Siddons as Queen Katherine, printed 1852 Ref: TCP/C/000078 This print is after the painting "The Court for the Trial of Queen Katherine" by George Henry Harlow, which was declared picture of the year at the Royal Academy in 1817. Sarah Siddons was known as the greatest English actress in tragedy. Wilkinson said "If you ask me 'What is a queen?' I should say Mrs Siddons". Production photograph of Violet Vanbrugh as Queen Katherine Henry VIII, His Majesty's Theatre, London 1910-1911 Producer: Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree Ref: HBT/PH1/7/2 Violet Vanbrugh (1867-1942) was a distinguished actress, acting in the companies of the Kendals, Beerbohm Tree and Henry Irving. She also appeared in four films during the 1920s, including a small part in Pygmalion (1938).
Character portrait photograph of Maud Jeffries as Mariamne by Langfier Studios. Herod, His Majesty's Theatre, London, 1900 Producer: Herbert Beerbohm Tree Ref: HBT/PH/11(1)/15 Mariamne was the second wife of King Herod for whom he had great passionate affection. However, it had been a political marriage to enable him to have more power in Jerusalem, to which end he had killed Mariamne's grandfather, Hyrcanus, and her brother Aristobulus. For this reason she felt a great hatred for Herod, and Herod's family distrusted her. Because of his jealousy, Herod secretly entrusted the life of Mariamne to his brother-in-law, Joseph, whilst he was away. Joseph told Mariamne of this command and when Herod heard of it was convinced Joseph had debauched his wife and commanded for both of them to be slain.
Production photograph of Sybil Thorndike as Jocasta and Laurence Olivier as Oedipus by John Vickers. Oedipus Rex, Old Vic Company at the New Theatre, London, 1945 Director: Miles Malleson Ref: OVP/70/10/15 Jocasta, Queen of Thebes, is one of history‟s greatest victims of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Jocasta and Laios were warned by the oracle of Apollo that her son would slay his father and marry his mother. Fearful of this, they ordered a shepherd to abandon the child. However, Oedipus was brought up by the King of Corinth and on hearing the prophecy, fled Corinth. On his journey he slays his father, answers the riddle of the Sphinx and is received into Thebes as King, marrying the widow of Laios. Jocasta kills herself when she realises she is married to her son Production photograph of Barbara Jefford as Tamora, by Angus McBean Titus Andronicus, Old Vic, London, 1957 Director: Walter Hudd Ref: OVP/28/8/10 Tamora, Queen of the Goths is a captive of Rome where one of her sons is sacrificed. In the plot Tamora is involved in revenge, love and deceit and at the end of the play there is a banquet, where she is served the flesh of her sons in a pie and is stabbed to death by Titus. Production photograph of Sheila Ballantine as Tamora and Pete Postlethwaite as Aaron, her lover. by Derek Balmer Titus Andronicus, New Vic, Bristol, 1978 Director: Adrian Noble Ref: BOV/NVP/000054/3 Costume design by Yolanda Sonnabend for Frances de la Tour as Cleopatra (mixed media) Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon, 1999 Director: Steven Pimlott Ref: TCD/C/000723/1 "De la Tour catches Cleopatra's volatile exhibitionism, displaying affection, caustic command and self-mockery in what sometimes seems like a single moment; but it is vulnerability that finally defines her." The Times Production photograph of Margaret Whiting as Cleopatra and Keith Michell as Antony by Angus McBean Ref: OVP/28/1/27 Production photograph of Cleopatra (Margaret Whiting) sitting enthroned in her death. At her feet lie her handmaidens, Iras (Ingrid Hafner) and Charmian (Rosemary Webster). By Angus McBean Ref: OVP/28/1/33 Antony and Cleopatra, Old Vic, London, 1957 Director: Robert Helpmann
Production photograph of Annette Crosbie as Cleopatra and Richard Gale as Julius Caesar by Desmond Tripp Caesar and Cleopatra, Theatre Royal, Bristol, 1960 Director: Toby Robertson Ref: BOV/P/000179/4 Annette Crosbie took up a scholarship at Bristol Old Vic at the age of 17, despite parental opposition. Best known as the tolerant wife of Victor Meldrew in the BBC sitcom "One Foot in the Grave", Annette Crosbie admits in real life that "she is difficult to live with, but I don't throw tantrums". Production photograph of Yvonne Coulette as Cleopatra, with Jeanette Sterke as Charmain and Carol Marsh as Iras her handmaidens by Desmond Tripp Antony and Cleopatra, Theatre Royal, Bristol, 1953 BOV/P/000083 Jeanette Sterke was a young actress hand picked from a RADA show by the director Tyrone Guthrie as one of the most promising players he had seen in a long time. She was one of six newcomers of one of Bristol Old Vic Company's largest cast lists. Costume design by Yolanda Sonnabend for Frances de la Tour as Cleopatra Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company
Titania is the name of the Queen of the Fairies in William Shakespeare‟s "A Midsummer Night‟s Dream". An early use of the name Titania was by the Roman poet, Ovid, in reference to the goddess Diana. Whilst fairies were regarded as terrifying creatures with evil powers in Elizabethan England, the Victorian craze for the fairy folk saw the resurrection of Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night‟s Dream", with a greater emphasis on the supernatural than in the original text. Also, Oberon the Fairy King was frequently portrayed by a woman in the Victorian era. Famous Titanias include Vivien Leigh, Peggy Ashcroft, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Lindsay Duncan, and Janet McTeer.
Production photograph of Joyce Redman as Titania and Derek Godfrey as Oberon by Tony Armstrong Jones A Midsummer Night's Dream, Old Vic, London, 1957 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/29/6/100 This production was featured in the final year of the Five-Year Plan to produce all the thirty six plays in the First Folio of Shakespeare. It also featured Judi Dench as the First Fairy. Production photograph of Vivien Leigh as Titania, by J W Debenham A Midsummer Night's Dream, Old Vic Theatre, London, 1937 Director: Tyrone Guthrie Ref: OVP/39/4/1
This photograph was taken just after Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier had spent their first Christmas together. Earlier in the year when it seemed that she might not play opposite Olivier in Hamlet at Elsinore, Rex Harrison said "she broke down in the dressing room into wild hysteria, anger and anguish. She was like a cat. She would purr and scratch, and she looked divinely pretty doing either". Costume design for Queen Quipsand Kranky, by Wilhelm, unidentified production, 1886 TCD/C/000382 Costume design for the Violet Queen by Wilhelm, unidentified production, 1885 TCD/C/000399 Wilhelm (William John Charles Pitcher) (1858-1925) was a costume designer, working almost entirely in light opera, pantomime and late Victorian and Edwardian music-hall. His work became notorious for basing the designs on inanimate objects, such as birds, animals and flowers. Some of his later work includes designs for productions at the Prince's Theatre, Bristol. Production photograph of Phyllida Law as Titania, by Desmond Tripp. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theatre Royal, Bristol, May 1957 Producer: John Moody BOV/P/000118/1 The matinee performance on 25th May 1957, was preceded by the marriage of Phyllida Law and Eric Thompson at St George's on Brandon Hill. Eric Thompson was playing the role of Puck and the whole cast which included Peter O'Toole, Sheila Allen, John Woodvine and Joseph O'Conor, were invited to the wedding party held on the stage at the Theatre Royal, Bristol. They went on to have two drama queens of their own, Emma Thompson and Sophie Thompson. Production photograph of Anna Carteret as Titania and Dudley Jones as Bottom, by Desmond Tripp A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theatre Royal, Bristol, 1964 Director: Denis Carey BOV/P/000222/7 John Coe the theatre critic of the Evening Post in September 1964, described Anna Carteret as "quite charming. She very nearly made me believe in fairies." The fairies, Moth, Mustardseed and Cobweb, were played by pupils of St Thomas More School. Production photograph of Gemma Jones as Titania by David Farrell and Max Waldman A Midsummer Night's Dream, Royal Shakespeare Company, World Tour, 1972 Director: Peter Brook Peter Brook's Dream turned out to be amongst one of the most remarkable Shakespeare productions of the 20th century, seen and acclaimed throughout the world. Production Photograph of Ghida Alfaquih as Titania and Rodger Barton as Bottom, by Derek Balmer A Midsummer Night's Dream, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School at the New Vic, Bristol, 1975-1976 Season Director: Nat Brenner REF: BOV.NVP/000042/1
Backstage photographs of the Jean Wilson making-up and Michel Saint-Denis inspecting the horse before the show. Photographs by Reynolds News The Snow Queen, Young Vic at the Old Vic, London, 1948 Director: Michel Saint-Denis & Suria Magito Refs: OVP/60/8/3,16 & OVP/PG/000471/1 The Snow Queen, based on the Hans Andersen version, was one of the plays produced in the first year after the opening of the Old Vic Theatre School in1947. Some of the cast included Sheila Ballantine and Edgar Wreford, who both went on to do seasons at the Old Vic, London. Production photograph of Jill Balcon as Titania and John Byron as Oberon, by Desmond Tripp. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theatre Royal, Bristol, 1948 Director: Hugh Hunt Ref: BOV/C/000003/2
The Reading Room demonstrates aspects of the identity of queens as portrayed on the stage, in production, portrait, design and costume. Featured queens include Cleopatra, Margaret of Anjou, Cymbeline‟s Queen of Britain, and drag and pantomime queens. Costume design by Doris Zinkeisen for Margaret Leighton as Queen Elizabeth (pencil & watercolour). Richard III, Old Vic Company at the New Theatre, London, 1944 Directors: John Burrell, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson Ref: TCD/C/000128 Doris Zinkeisen (1898-1991) was a painter, set and costume designer, war artist and writer. Early in her career she was a designer at the Prince's Theatre, Bristol and then went on to work with the Old Vic Company during their residency at the New Theatre. Costume designs by Ann Curtis for Janet Suzman as Cleopatra, John Atkinson as Philadelphos and Richard Johnson as Antony Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, Startford-Upon-Avon, 1972 Director: Trevor Nunn Refs: TCD/C/000031,32,60,61 Ann Curtis began her career at the Royal Shakespeare Company as a Ladies Cutter where she designed costumes for a number of their significant productions. She worked with RSC Directors Sir Peter Hall, John Barton, Terry Hands, Ron Daniels and Trevor Nunn on productions which included Julius Caesar, The Devils, Antony and Cleopatra. She is currently a lecturer at the Motley School of Stage Design in London. Character portrait of Margaret Leighton as Queen Elizabeth by John Vickers Richard III, Old Vic Company at the New Theatre, London, 1944 Directors: John Burrell, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson Ref: OVP/70/15/1
John Vickers was the photographer for the Old Vic Company productions at the New Theatre, London between 1944-1950, whilst the Old Vic was being restored after it had been bombed and was also an official photographer of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Character portrait of Joyce Redman as Titania, Queen of the Fairies by Tony Armstrong-Jones A Midsummer Night's Dream, Old Vic, London, 1957 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/70/28/1 Tony Armstrong-Jones was one of the first modern-day celebrity photographers of the 20th century, a recognition often overlooked in our society which is now inundated with celebrity images everyday. As the theatre hit its 'realist' stage, so photographers used small cameras in rehearsals producing grainy 'realist' effects. It was by mixing in these celebrity circles that he met Princess Margaret at a dinner party in 1958, whom he went on to marry in 1960. Character portrait of Coral Browne as Queen Gertrude of Denmark and John Neville as Hamlet by Angus McBean Hamlet, Old Vic, London 1957 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/70/25/3 When Michael Benthall had offered the tragedian's accolade to John Neville he said "I never coveted it, but you've more or less got to say yes". At the Old Vic première of Hamlet they received thirteen curtain-calls and when it was over John Neville was physically sick. Character portrait of Edith Evans as Queen Katherine, by Angus McBean Henry VIII, Old Vic, London, 1958 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/70/31/5 One of Edith Evans (1888-1976) earliest performances was in She Stoops to Conquer at the Old Vic in 1925. Her career continued in the theatre and on the silver screen with her most memorable performance in the 1952 film "The Importance of Being Earnest" and her line "A handbag". Character portrait of Barbara Jefford as Queen Margaret by Angus McBean Henry VI, Parts I, II & III, Old Vic, London, 1957 Director: Douglas Seale Ref: OVP/70/26/2 Barbara Jefford (1930 -) received the Order of the British Empire from the Queen for her services to theatre and at aged 35, was the youngest recipient of the award. Angus McBean (1904-1990) was the foremost theatre photographers of the 20 th century and was successful largely because of his love of the theatre. He photographed some of the most famous icons of his time including Vivien Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn and The Beatles. Costume Design by Berkeley Sutcliffe for the Princess of Hearts (pencil and watercolour) The Queen of Hearts, unidentified production Director: unknown Ref: TCD/D/000142
Costume Design by Terry Parsons for Danny la Rue as Mother Goose Mother Goose, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, 1988 Director: John Chilvers Ref: TCD/C/000726 Danny la Rue in one of Britain's most popular and prolific drag queens. Whilst starring in the title role of Mother Goose, the production played to a record-breaking season at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth which went on to tour in many other cities around the country. Terry Parsons has been involved in over thirty five West End productions including Grease, Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific and Singing in the Rain. To celebrate the birthday of one of the world's wealthiest Sheikhs he designed the ultimate party in Dubai for three thousand guests, creating a spectacular Arabian Nights setting in the desert! Poster for Antony and Cleopatra, featuring Vanessa Redgrave as Cleopatra. Antony and Cleopatra, Theatre Royal, Bath, 1995 Director: Vaness Redgrave Ref:TCPB/001461 "The best thing about the performance is the way she sees Cleopatra as a woman of variety and intrigue rather than the stereotypical image of Cleopatra the beautiful, yet weaker sex, woman of the throne. There is no weakness in this Cleopatra whatsoever" Costume design by Lila de Nobili for Joan Miller as the Queen Cymbeline, Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Startford-Upon-Avon, 1957 Director: Peter Hall Ref: TCD/C/000003 This was the first Shakespeare play that the distinguished Italian painter, Lila de Nobili, designed for the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and the first time she had worked in England. She died in February this year aged 85. Costume Design by Leslie Hurry for Virginia McKenna as the Queen Richard II, Old Vic, London, 1955 Director: Michael Benthall Ref: TCD/C/000076 Leslie Hurry was an English painter and designer discovered by Robert Helpmann, for whom he did his first theatre work. He went on to design regularly for the Old Vic and Stratford- Upon-Avon and Stratford Ontario. Drag Quean costume (kindly on loan from Adrian Varcoe) Portrait Photographs of Adrian Varcoe with and without his Drag Quean costume and make-up. Ref: Adrian Varcoe Collection Adrian Varcoe is a local entertainer with 32 years professional experience as a drag artist. It takes Adrian 1 hour and 8 minutes to get dressed for a show - 1 hour for the make-up and 8 minutes for the costume. He has a pair of false breasts made of Kevlar, which is the material used to make bulletproof vests.
The wig on display is usually worn in a finale of a cabaret act and is made out of nylon, car spray paint, diamante and mirrors. The costume on display is from Adrian's wardrobe and is 25 years old.
Costume designed by Ann Curtis for Janet Suzman as Cleopatra Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon, 1972
The theatre has always enjoyed the patronage of the great and the good, from the courts of the Angevin kings to the stage of the Old Vic. On the walls of the library, we take a look at royal visits to the theatre through history, and theatre‟s visits to royalty. Print illustrating Charles Kean as Shylock and Mrs Charles Kean as Portia in a performance of The Merchant of Venice at Windsor Castle in the presence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Ref: TCP/S/000099 Print showing Their Majesties King Rheo Rhio, Queen Tamehamalu and Madame Boki of the Sandwich Islands, during their visit to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 4th June 1824 Drawn and engraved from life by J W Gear Ref: TCP/S/000007 Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands and named them the Sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich The Queen's 80th Birthday: Matinee at Her Majesty's Theatre by W Hatherell, taken from The Graphic, May 1899 TCP/S/000057 Herbert Beerbohm Tree invited 1,500 boys and girls from the chief naval and military schools to attend a special performance at Her Majesty's Theatre in honour of the Queen's birthday. The Queen was in direct communication with the theatre by means of the electrophone for the occasion. Press Cutting illustrating an Imperial Visit to England, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Emperor Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III) and Empress Eugenie attending Fidelio by Beethoven, State Box at the Royal Italian Opera, London, engraving by W. Thomas, April 1855 TCP/S/000102 Although the Empress Eugenie was considered to be the most fashionable and beautiful woman of her time, the British audience cheered when the self-assured Queen Victoria took her seat at the opera without glancing to check that it was there, whilst Empress Eugenie, uncertain of her position had to turn to find her seat. Scene illustrating a performance before her Majesty in the Theatre of the Palace of St Cloud, as printed in the Illustrated London News showing audience, August 1855 TCP/S/000047 Scene from "Henry VIII" (Trial Scene) at Covent Garden Theatre, London with Fanny Kemble as Queen Katherine and Charles Kemble as Henry, 1831 TCP/S/000090 Fanny Kemble was the daughter of the renowned actor Charles Kemble. She was a woman of fiery temperament and bold determination. She was a woman who
achieved fame not only as an actress, but also as a protagonist for the abolition of slavery in the American South.
From Top to Bottom: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother receiving a bouquet on her visit to the Old Vic, London, 15 th November, 1960, from the Central Press Photos Ltd Ref: OVP/38/7/1 Character portrait of Alec McCowen as Mercutio by Houston Rogers Ref: OVP/32/5/8 Programme for the Royal performance of Romeo and Juliet, attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, Old Vic, London, 1960 Ref: OVP/PG/000588 Publicity photograph of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother meeting the cast of Romeo and Juliet, including John Stride, Judi Dench and Alec McCowen, from Central Press Photos Ltd Ref: OVP/38/7/7 Production photograph of John Stride as Romeo and Judi Dench as Juliet by Houston Rogers Romeo and Juliet, Old Vic, London 1960 Director: Franco Zeffirelli Ref: OVP/32/5/105 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother was always a supporter of the Old Vic, being the patron of the Royal Victoria Hall Foundation until her death earlier this year. For this production, Zeffirelli wanted the actors to be as natural as possible. This meant them growing their own hair rather than wearing wigs. In 1960, long hair on a boy was still an unfamiliar sight and reason for mockery, however, by the time this production finished its extended season, the fashion for long hair was in full swing. From Top to Bottom: Publicity photograph of King George VII, Queen Elizabeth and HRH The Princess Margaret arriving at the Old Vic Theatre, to celebrate its re-opening, 6th December 1950, by the Sport and Central Press Agency Ref: OVP/38/3/2 Character portrait of Alec Clunes as Count Orsino, by John Vickers Twelfth Night, Old Vic, London 1950 Director: Hugh Hunt Ref: OVP/21/6/15 Production photograph of cast rehearsing backstage, showing Alec Clunes, Peggy Ashcroft, Robert Eddison and Pauline Jameson, by David Gurney Ref: OVP/21/6/23 Character portrait of Robert Eddison as Sir Andrew Aguecheek by John Vickers Ref: OVP/21/6/22 Publicity photograph of the Royal Family seated on the balcony at the Old Vic Theatre, by the Daily Mail OVP/38/3/3 Princess Margaret (1931-2002) always had a particular interest in music and ballet and was President of the Sadler's Wells Foundation and the Royal Ballet during her lifetime.
Cast list for the private performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Old Vic, London Producer: Michael Benthall Ref: OVP/Royal Galas Publicity photograph of HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attending a private performance at the Old Vic Theatre, London, 18 th March 1958, from Associated Newspapers Ltd Ref: OVP/38/5/11 Press Cuttings documenting the Royal visit to the Old Vic Theatre, London, 19th March 1958 Ref: OVPC/000013/2 HM the Queen backstage at the Old Vic, London, by Bippa Ref: OVP/38/5/3 HM the Queen meeting Frankie Howerd and Moira Shearer,backstage at the Old Vic, London by Bippa Ref: OVP/38/5/6 Production photograph of Frankie Howerd as Bottom by Tony Armstrong Jones Ref: OVP/29/6/69 Before the performance Her Majesty unveiled a commemorative plaque in the vestibule of the new annex on the Old Vic Theatre. From top to Bottom: Publicity photograph of HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, receiving a bouquet of flowers at Old Vic, London before a Gala Performance of Henry VIII in honour of the Coronation, 6th May 1953, by Reuter Photos Ltd. Ref: OVP/38/4/4 Press cuttings documenting the visit of HM the Queen to the Old Vic, London Ref: OVPC/000008 Souvenir programme and cast list of the Gala performance of King Henry VIII in honour of the Coronation Henry VIII, Old Vic, London 1953 Director: Tyrone Guthrie Ref: OVP/Royal Gala Programmes Publicity photographs of H M Queen meeting Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Queen Katherine, Paul Rogers as King Henry VIII and Leo Genn as Buckingham, during the interval, from the Sport and General Press Agency Refs: OVP/38/4/9 & OVP/38/4/2
Programme “Victoria Regina” by Laurence Housman as presented by Gilbert Miller in association with Norman Marshall. Lyric Theatre, London. June 21st 1937. Ref: TCW/PG/000076 (from the Richard Southern Collection). Victoria Regina was written by Laurence Housman (1865–1959), English author and dramatist; and brother of A. E. Housman. The play consists of 30 episodes that combine so that “through the personal history of a great Queen are revealed the saga of a reign and the growth of an Empire”. It was his most famous play, and was
banned from the English stage for representing living members of the royal family, but an American production in 1935 with Helen Hayes was highly successful. This production opened, during the King George VI Coronation Season, on June 21 st 1937, exactly 100 years after Queen Victoria‟s accession to the throne. It opened to good reviews, including “Everyone who sees this utterly enchanting play will rejoice that the Lord Chamberlain‟s ban has at last been raised” (Daily Mail) and “ This play should celebrate its Diamond Jubilee” (Daily Mirror). In fact, the play ran for just five weeks! Production Photograph of Peggy Ann Wood as Queen Victoria and Ralph Hutton as Disraeli. Victoria Regina, Rapier Players, Little Theatre, Bristol. July 1940 Ref: TCP/000077/30 For this production Peggy Ann Wood was sharing the burdens of managing, producing and acting. Her husband and joint collaborator (Ronald Russell) was absent as he had joined the police war reserve. Later that year she took the company on ENSA tour during a curfew period resulting from the heavy air raids on Bristol. Peggy Ann Wood also starred in the ATV series “Edward the Seventh”. In 1975, this famous series followed the progress of Queen Victoria‟s eldest son, Edward, “through the household of Queen Victoria along the rigorous and tormenting path to the throne”. The cast was vast and included many Bristol actors such as Timothy West as Edward, Annette Crosbie as Queen Victoria, Jane Lapotaire as Empress Marie of Russia and Peggy Ann Wood as Lady Lyttleton. Ref: TCW/PG/000040 Programme: An evening with Queen Victoria. Prunella Scales, Ian Partridge (Tenor) Richard Burnett (Piano). London Old Vic. Sunday 13 th January 1980, Devised and directed by Katrina Hendrey. Music compiled by Richard Burnett. This performance sought to portray Queen Victoria‟s life using information compiled from Queen Victoria‟s own journals and letters, together with additional material from contemporary sources. From the age of 12 to 42 Queen Victoria attended the theatre as often as her public and private duties allowed. She never failed to record these visits in her journals. Then for 40 years, following the death of her beloved Albert, she never entered a theatre. However, for the last 20 years of her life she increasingly enjoyed “commanding” the theatre to come to her, and there were regular performances at the royal residences including Windsor and Balmoral. Programme Portrait of a Queen Bristol Old Vic. Company, March 1965. Director: Val May Ref PR/000386/1 In March 1965 the Bristol Old Vic Company produced this play. It toured the West Country following year, with a different set of actors, as part of the Spring 1966 Bicentenary Festival the Bristol Old Vic Company. The tour visited theatres in Totnes, Exeter, Plymouth, Truro and Ilminster. At the time the performance was seen as a “unusual and exciting experiment in documentary theatre, throwing new light on one of the most remarkable characters in our history- Queen Victoria”. The dialogue used in the play was based on that drawn form her private diaries and letters. Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, and the patron of the Theatre Royal at this time, went to see the play. She sat in the stalls, with her sister Princess Paul of Yugoslavia, which rather surprised all the school
children on a school trip to attend the matinee performance! (Source: Bristol Old Vic Press Cuttings) Production Photographs:Portrait of a Queen Bristol Old Vic Company, 1965. Ref BOV/P/000218/7, 11,12 Queen Victoria (Dorothy Tutin) is crowned by The Archbishop of Canterbury (Norman Tyrrell), with her Ladies in Waiting (Heather Bell and Hilary Baker Bell). Heather Bell also played a Scottish Peasant Woman and Mary Drew, while Norman Tyrell also played the Editor of the Times. Queen Victoria (Dorothy Tutin) meets with Benjamin Disraeli (Paul Eddington). Paul Eddington went on to small screen success; with his most famous role being another politician, Jim Hacker, the Minister For Administrative Affairs (Yes, Minister 1980-84), then becoming Prime Minister (Yes, Prime Minister 1986-87). Queen Victoria (Dorothy Tutin) dances with Prince Albert (Derek Waring) to the Ballad-Monger (Nicholas Smith). The songs used in the play were drawn from authentic street ballads circulating throughout the country during Victoria‟s reign.
Tudor & Stuart Queens
Production photograph of Mary Kerridge as Queen Elizabeth. Photograph by Angus McBean Richard III, Old Vic, London, 1962 Director: Colin George Ref: OVP/33/7/15 Elizabeth Woodville was the queen of Edward IV and mother of Edward and Richard, the Princes in the Tower. She is manipulated by Richard into handing over her daughter after the death of her sons. In reality, the „poor painted queen‟ fared little better. Contemporary sources remark of Elizabeth‟s amazing talent for making personal enemies, which did not serve her well. Production photograph of Charlotte Cornwell as Elizabeth I. Photograph by Derek Balmer Vivat! Vivat Regina! Theatre Royal, Bristol, 1974 Ref: BOV/P/000306/15 In Vivat! Vivat Regina, Elizabeth is portrayed as cold and unemotional, distant from herself as a woman and a political thinker of the highest order, in direct contrast to the vibrant and sensual Mary. The play deals with the character of these two queens between Mary‟s arrival in Scotland in 1561 and her execution in 1587. Page from Elizabeth R: Dresses for Elizabeth I by the BBC Costume department, a book made to accompany the 1971 BBC Television serial. Ref: YXO E43 Glenda Jackson portrayed Elizabeth in the famous BBC serial, as well as in the 1971 movie Mary, Queen of Scots, opposite Vanessa Redgrave as Mary. Production photograph of Catherine Lacey as Elizabeth and Irene Worth as Mary. Photograph by Angus McBean Mary Stuart, Old Vic, London, 1958 Director: Peter Wood Ref: OVP30/6/20 In this scene, Mary pleads for her freedom to her cousin Elizabeth at a meeting contrived by the Earl of Leicester at Fotheringay Castle. Mary spent almost 19 years a captive in England, and was executed at Fotheringay for conspiring against the Queen on the 8th of February, 1587.
Etching by Leney from a painting by De Wilde of Mrs. Jane Powell as Mary Queen of Scots in Albion Queens, Act V, Scene III. Mary lived as a firm and devout Catholic for her entire life, despite the rift between Protestant and Catholic the Reformation created in Scotland. Her personal faith meant that religious proclamations were dangerous ground for her, and she found it impossible throughout her reign to please Catholics or Protestants. Catholics within England plotted to depose Elizabeth who was very ruthless with them, in favour of Mary, who was seen as the legitimate heir to England by the Papacy. Production photograph of Valerie Taylor as Queen Elizabeth I. Photograph by Peter W. Dickenson Mary Stuart, Old Vic, London, 1961 Ref: OVP/32/2/28 Religious strife tore England apart in the 16 th Century, and Mary Queen of Scots, a prisoner of Elizabeth, was either wittingly or unwittingly at the heart of it. As Elizabeth never married, conspiracies abounded to unseat her and replace her with Mary. Elizabeth believed she had no choice but to execute her cousin to keep her position secure. Mary‟s execution prompted Phillip II to launch the Armada against England. Above: Production photograph of Isla Blair as Mary Queen of Scots and Christopher Scoular as Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Photograph by Derek Balmer Vivat! Vivat Regina! Theatre Royal, Bristol, 1974 Director: David Phethean Ref: BOV/P/000306/6 Below: Programme for the above production. Darnley was Mary‟s second husband, whom she married for love rather than politics. Their marriage soured, and he had her advisor and lover David Rizzio murdered in her presence. Darnley himself was later slain by James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, as part of his plot to wed Mary and take the throne of Scotland for himself.