Papers relating to The Glass Slipper

Scope and Content

This class is comprised of material relating to RD's production of The Glass Slipper. His idea for this pantomime was inspired by the reaction of his children to the Disney film Pinocchio which they saw in 1943. They objected strongly to any deviation from the original story, so RD decided to commission Herbert and Eleanor Farjeon to write a traditional children's pantomime based closely on a fairy tale of their choice; the Farjeons quickly selected the Cinderella story. Unable to find a Christmas programme for 1943, RD was forced to wait until the following year for a production. Directed by William Armstrong, the play opened at the St James's Theatre on 23 December 1944 with Audrey Hesketh as Cinderella. It ran until the end of January 1945 and was revived for the 1945-6 Christmas season at the same theatre with Sara Gregory in the lead role. The material includes 54 original watercolour costume designs for the play by Hugh Stevenson, as well as posters, a programme and published copies of the vocal score and script.


The bulk of this material formed a lot at the Sotheby's sale of RD material in December 1997, and was purchased by the John Rylands Library. It therefore forms a discrete class of its own.

Related Material

The archive contains various other documents relating to the production: FRD1/1/146-7 consists of correspondence between RD and the Farjeons; FRD1/8/1 includes correspondence with the Farjeons and others, and additional papers relating to the play; FRD1/1/296 includes a letter to RD signed by the cast in 1945; FRD1/2/1/10-11 are annotated copies of the script; FRD1/3/4/17 contains a programme and a flyer; FRD1/6/3/12 is a cuttings book relating to the play; FRD1/9/1/10 and /12 are contracts relating to the production; and FRD1/10/2/52 contains a bundle of photographs of the play.