Records of Scottish National Players, theatre company, Glasgow, Scotland

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Business papers relating to the St Andrew Society (Glasgow) including:

  • Minutes of meetings of the plays sub-committee and list of office bearers 1919-1921

Papers relating to the Scottish National Theatre, including:

  • List of office bearers, and objects of the Scottish National Theatre Society, 1922
  • List of office bearers and constitution 1927-28
  • Memoranda, prospectus and articles of association of the Scottish National Theatre Society Ltd 1928
  • List of committees and correspondents, undated
  • List of shareholders, undated
  • Accounts 1925-1929
  • Correspondence 1920-1923
  • Letters 1921-1939
  • Scripts 1921-1939
  • Programmes 1921-1940, 1947
  • Copies of The Scottish Player c. 1922-1926
  • Press cuttings 1920-1923, 1927-1939
  • Photographs of productions and actors and playwrights associated with the company 1920s-1940
  • Publications: The Scottish National Theatre Venture (The Scottish National Players), Its Birth, History, Work and Influence, 1921-1948(Glasgow, 1953); Reah Denholm, The Scottish National Theatre Movement(1924)

Correspondence and personal papers of Robert Bain, playwright, containing:

  • Letters to Bain including letters by Gordon Bottomley, poems, press cuttings concerning his plays 1918-1953
  • Letters and personal papers of Gordon Bottomley, playwright, 1899-1948
  • Miscellanea c1921-1983, including:Chambers of Imagery by Gordon Bottomley, short stories by Reah Munro Denholm, undated

Administrative / Biographical History

Also known as the Scottish National Theatre Venture, the Scottish National Players was founded in 1921 . It grew out of the St Andrew Society (Glasgow), Scotland, which had a Scottish Arts Committee with a plays sub-committee. Proposals had been put to the Society in 1913 to found a school of national drama but floundered because of the First World War. After the War in 1920 the St Andrew Society revived the project and a Scottish National Players' Committee of the Council of the Society was empowered to organise matters. Its objects were to encourage Scottish Drama by providing a stage and an acting company for plays by Scots of a Scots character. It put on its first plays in January 1921  in the Royal Institute, Glasgow. In November 1921 it moved to the Athenaeum Theatre. At this time  the Scottish National Theatre Society was formed with membership open to the public by subscription. It was responsible for all administration until 1928 . Due to the financial responsibilities placed on the members a limited liability company was formed. It became incorporated on 17 February 1928 and was known as the Scottish National Theatre Society Ltd. The main purpose was 'to found a Scottish National Theatre for the development of a national drama through the production of plays of Scottish life and character and to encourage in Scotland a public taste for good drama of any type'. The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1939 .

From 1934  onwards the direction and responsibility for the work of the Scottish National Players lay with the players themselves. Playwrights associated with the Scottish National Players included James Bridie (1888-1951), Robert Bain, Gordon Bottomley (1874-1948) and Robert Kemp (1908-1967). Productions ceased in 1941 due to the Second World War. There was a revival in 1947 when Robert Kemp's Walls of Jericho was performed but this was the last production and a decision was made to abandon production in 1950 .

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Other Finding Aids

Item level descriptions are available via the online Scottish Theatre Archive catalogue at http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/STA/search/

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jo Peattie, Scottish Archive Network Project

Conversion from MS Access database, formatting and controlled access terms added by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, October 2002

Related Material

GB 234 BT2/14950 Scottish National Theatre Society Ltd (dissolved company file) (National Archives of Scotland)

Geographical Names