Greek Play Committee: Records and Papers

Scope and Content

The collection covers productions from Ajax (1882) to Hippolytus (1992). The material is divided into 7 sections:

Albums, comprising programmes, cuttings, photographs and notices for each production, as well as some correspondence.

Acting editions prepared for productions up to 1965, containing the Greek text with an English translation.

Musical scores, comprising original printed scores up to 1950 and photocopies thereafter.

Etchings and prints from early productions, in particular those of Robert Farren.

Loose papers relating to particular productions and of a general nature.

Recordings, comprising sound-recordings of recent productions and an audio-visual recording of Trachiniae, 1983.

Other items, comprising a minute book, a notebook, bank books and a box of duplicates.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Cambridge Greek Play Committee was formed following a production by Charles Waldstein (or Walston) of Ajax in 1882. Its success led to the staging of triennial productions, the plays being performed in their original language, with a student cast, live music and a full chorus. The popularity of the plays over the years led to performances of The frogs at the Chiswick Empire in London in 1936, and of Electra in Delphi and Ithaca in 1980. Composers such as Charles Stanford, Charles Parry, Charles Wood and Vaughan Williams wrote music for the plays, and the designers included artists such as Duncan Grant and Gwen Raverat. Public figures to have appeared in the plays while students include Lord Runciman, Sir Ronald Storrs, Lord Trevelyan, Sir Andrew Cohen, Baroness Brigstocke and the poet Rupert Brooke.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room. Some scores and recordings must be requested through the Library's Music Department, in the Anderson Room.

Acquisition Information

Deposited at various times by the Committee.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The history of the committee was compiled with reference to Dictynna Hood, 'Transcending the Barriers - The Cambridge Greek Play', in Didaskalia, Vol. I, Issue 5 (December 1994), edited by Sallie Goetsch and Peter Toohey, University of Warwick.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed handlist is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Custodial History

The collection of the papers was started by John Willis Clark, a founder member of the Committee, who instituted a series of albums recording each production. After his death Clark's work in this area was continued by Augustus Theodore Bartholomew, who seems also to have collected the earlier items in the series of acting editions which is now in the archives. Many items have been added in more recent years, including substantial collections put together by John and Pat Easterling, and material contributed by Professor and Mrs Robin Orr, Peter Tranchell, Philip Radcliffe, Joscelyn Godwin, Mervyn Cooke and others.