Brian Rix Archive

Scope and Content

This archive consists of a collection of cuttings, papers and recordings relating to the life and work of Brian Rix in theatre, television and publications.

Administrative / Biographical History

Brian Rix (full title: Baron Rix of Whitehall in the City of Westminster & Hornsea in Yorkshire) was born on 27th January 1924 in Cottingham, Yorkshire. He became a professional actor at the age of 18. He toured with Donald Wolfit and his Famous Company and The White Rose Players before his wartime service in the RAF and down the mines as a Bevin Boy. In 1947 he formed his own theatre company, and from 1950 he was actor-manager of the Whitehall and Garrick Theatres for thirty years. He acted in many productions for television and presented the first BBC series for people with learning disabilities Let's Go. He also produced and appeared in 12 film farces.

Brian Rix became Secretary General of MENCAP in 1980. He later became Chairman of MENCAP in 1988 and then President in 1998, as well as being involved with several other groups for people with learning disabilities. In recognition for this he has received eight honorary degrees and five fellowships. He has received the C.B.E., a knighthood and was made a life peer on 27th January 1992. He is an active member of the House of Lords regarding disabled people, and the Arts. He was Vice Lord Lieutenant of Greater London from 1988-1998. In 1997 Lord Rix became Chancellor of the University of East London where the Rix Centre does work for the learning disabled community. He is now the Univerisity's Chancellor Emeritus.

Brian Rix married actress Elspet Gray in 1949, with whom he had four children. He has written several volumes of autobiography and memoir.


This archive has been arranged into the following series:

  • THM/373/1 Scrapbooks and Press Cuttings
  • THM/373/2 Photographs
  • THM/373/3 Scripts and Transcripts
  • THM/373/4 Audio Recordings
  • THM/373/5 Video Recordings
  • THM/373/6 Papers relating to productions
  • THM/373/7 Papers relating to the Arts Council
  • THM/373/8 Papers relating to Normansfield Theatre
  • THM/373/9 Personal Objects
  • THM/373/10 Publications and Periodicals
  • THM/373/11 Papers relating to Publishing

Access Information

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: .

Additionally access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Brian Rix, January 2010.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: .

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Brian Rix may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files. Relevant files include the Brian Rix Biographical file as well as production files of the Garrick and Whitehall Theatres.

Please ask the Department of Theatre & Performance enquiry team for further details.


Stenning, Jeanne The 30 Week Life of Rix Theatrical Productions Ilkley, 1948

Personal Names