Phyllis Bedells Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection includes:

Programmes & Magazines: Programmes include Bedells' own professional appearances dating from 1906; student recitals and programmes from organisations that Bedells was involved with.

Press Cuttings & Scrapbooks: Eight scrapbooks cover the period from 1906-1935 and contain Bedells' personal collection of press clippings and programmes (some later cuttings are loosely inserted).Press cuttings include a file of articles relating to British Ballet in Denmark,1932.

Memoirs: Notebooks and manuscripts pre-publication of Bedells' autobiography - My Dancing Days (1954)

Scripts & Manuscripts: Some early music manuscripts including original RAD syllabus music compiled by Bedells' mother. Interview transcripts and scripts for radio programmes and magazine articles etc. 1940-80.

Papers & Correspondence: Personal letters dating from 1915 and some correspondence relating to RAD business or work related events.

Photographs: Nearly 100 photographs span Bedells' whole life from early performance photos (1906), to family portraits and anniversary celebrations.

Administrative / Biographical History

British ballerina born in Bristol on 9th August 1893 (died 2nd May 1985).

Bedells began her career at the Empire Theatre in 1907 supporting Adeline Genee and Lydia Kyasht. She became 'Prima Ballerina' at the Empire in 1913, the first British dancer to hold this position.

In 1920 she became a founding member of the Association of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain (later the RAD) and was also one of the original committee members of The Camargo Society in 1930.

Bedells continued performing until 1935 and teaching until 1966. Her autobiography - My Dancing Days - was published in 1954. She was actively involved with the RAD all her life receiving the QEII Award in 1958 and the Fellowship in 1971. In 1979 the RAD initiated the Phyllis Bedells Bursary award in honour of her services to the Academy over the years.

Access Information

Access by appointment only: Contact Us

Other Finding Aids

Detailed spreadsheet available at: Phyllis Bedells Collection