James Bridie and John Casson Archive

Scope and Content

This collection consists of material related to John Casson and James Bridie and their work with the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre. The collection also includes material relating to Casson's service during the Second World War and his imprisonment at Stalg Luft III. Material includes letters, photos, books and journals, scripts and personal mementos.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Bridie (1888-1951) was one of the most influential playwrights and promoters of the theatre in 20th century Scotland. In his last years, whilst working as a prolific dramatist, he was instrumental in the founding and running of the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre in 1943, the first significant Scottish drama stage. Born Osborne Henry Mavor, James Bridie graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1913 aged 25. During the First World War he served as a doctor in France and the Middle East and later became a consultant at the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. He worked both as a doctor and playwright for 25 years until his success in the West End led to his retirement from medicine in 1937, only returning to serve as a military doctor during the Second World War. He wrote under the pseudonyms James Bridie, Mary Henderson and A P Kellock.

In 1945 James Bridie appointed John Casson (1909-1999) director at the renovated Princess's Theatre Glasgow under the new name the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre. The son of Dame Sybil Thorndike and Sir Lewis Casson, John Casson was a recently returned naval officer who had spent much of the war as a prisoner of war.


This collection has been arranged into the following series:

  • THM/34/1 - Correspondence
  • THM/34/2 - Scripts
  • THM/34/3 - War Time Theatre
  • THM/34/4 - Glasgow Citizens' Theatre
  • THM/34/5 - Journals and Press Cuttings
  • THM/34/6 - Personal Mementoes Relating to James Bridie
  • THM/34/7 - Books

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: 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.

Acquisition Information

Given by Hugh Elwes, 2000.

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 collection management policy.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Relevant material may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.