Papers of William Gaskill, principally related to his period at the Royal Court Theatre, 1965-1972

Scope and Content

There are two accruals in this collection. One received in 2003, the second in 2016. See the attached record BC MS 20c Gaskill/1 for details of the second.

The first accrual includes 7 boxes: (1) Folders containing material related to plays directed by Gaskill, including: extracts from scripts; production and casting notes; set and costume designs; photographs; reviews and correspondence; (2) Programmes from productions acted in, produced by or directed by Gaskill, 1948-2001; (3) Four scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings, 1949-2001; (4) Two decorated envelopes addressed to Gaskill and containing photographs of plays in performance and stage sets, c.1988; (5) Programmes from plays at the Royal Court Theatre, 1965-1972; (6) Programmes and pamphlets from festivals and touring productions, 1964-1995; (7) Japanese theatre programmes, c.1999; (8) Programmes from productions of works by Bertolt Brecht; with pamphlets and related material, 1956-1988; (9) Two editions of Encore , Nov/Dec 1960, Jul/Aug 1962; (10) Souvenir programme from Henry Irving's production of King Lear, Lyceum Theatre, 1892.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Gaskill was born in Shipley in 1930. After experience in amateur and repertory productions and for Granada television, he began directing at the Royal Court Theatre in 1957. He worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and was a founder-director of the National Theatre, before succeeding George Devine as Artistic Director of the English Stage Company in 1965. He was a founder of the Joint Stock Company, and from 1983 began working as a freelance director and theatre teacher. He is especially associated with productions of Restoration comedy and the work of Bertolt Brecht.

Access Information

This collection contains material that is less than 30 years old and may contain sensitive information.

You will need to complete a restricted access form and return it to Special Collections for review by staff before access can be granted. This request will be reviewed by a member of staff in accordance with any relevant legislation and you will be informed of the decision.


Mostly in English, but with some items in German, Russian, or Japanese.

Other Finding Aids

A typescript chronology of plays directed by Gaskill is included in the archive.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in copyright. Photocopies or digital images can only be supplied by the Library for research or private study within the terms of copyright legislation. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain the copyright holder's permission to reproduce for any other purpose. Guidance is available on tracing copyright status and ownership.