Donald Wolfit Scrapbooks

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The 23 press albums were compiled by/for Wolfit, and give a comprehensive account of his stage work through press notices/programmes from 1921 to 1967. The pre- Second World War volumes include his work at the Old Vic (1929-30), West End and Stratford-upon-Avon, where he played Antony and King Lear in Komisarjevsky’s productions of Antony and Cleopatra (1936) and King Lear (1937). They also cover productions by his own Shakespearian company in association with Phyllis Neilson Terry. The war years are well documented with reference to provincial and ENSA tours, and the celebrated St James’ seasons in London in 1942-43 which saw Donald Wolfit’s celebrated King Lear.

Administrative / Biographical History

Donald Wolfit was born in Nottinghamshire in 1902. As a young man he worked as an assistant stage manager with Charles Doran's Shakespeare Company, and began to pick up small parts on the stage. He later went on to work with Alexander Marsh and with Matheson Lang, and gradually built up a name for himself as a respected actor. He worked at the Old Vic and began working in films, saving this profits in order to start his own company, which he formed in 1937. He played most of the major Shakespearean roles with his company and was known abroad as well as in Britain. He also worked for film and television, and was knighted in 1957. He died in 1968.

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.

Separated Material

The gift also included an original typescript for Harwood’s Cesar and Augusta which has been transferred to the library.

Conditions Governing Use

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

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 Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Donald Wolfit may be found in the biographical files as well as the library collections.

Please ask for details.

Personal Names