Papers of ACTAC Theatrical and Cinematic, agents of Christopher Fry

Archive Collection

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

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

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.

Other Finding Aids

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

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Appraisal Information

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

Accruals

No accruals expected.

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.