Ronald Jeans Archive

Scope and Content

This archive consists of 23 Scrapbooks each concerned with an individual production and assorted ephemera including published and unpublished works and newspaper cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

The playwright Ronald Jeans was born on 10 May 1887 at 26 Shrewsbury Road in Oxton, Birkenhead. The son of Liverpool Post and Mercury founder Alexander Grigor Jeans, the young Jeans embarked upon a seven-year career in stock-broking, during which he contributed frequently to his father's newspaper as a drama critic. Finally, with the assistance of fellow theatrical enthusiast Alec Rea and Basil Dean, Jeans founded the Liverpool Repertory Theatre in 1911 and proceeded to experiment with the model until its closure in 1916. By now an experienced playwright, Jeans continued to perfect his craft, and by the 1930s he was regarded as one of the best and indeed most reliable sources of social comedy in the West End. Among his many achievements and accolades, Jeans is perhaps best remembered for his early pioneering of 'the revue' with plays such as Hullo, Repertory! (1915), Buzz Buzz (1918) and Cochran's Revue (1926). He is also remembered for his 1938 collaboration with JB Priestly in the conversion of the Westminster Theatre into the short-lived London Mask Theatre Company before disbanding after the outbreak of war. Jeans continued to produce new work well into the 1950s, publishing a book ( Writing for the Theatre ) and releasing nine compilations of his work in revue. Ronald Jeans died on 16 May 1973, leaving behind a wealth of comedic history and a series of comprehensive scrapbooks that comprise this archive.

Conditions Governing Access

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:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by Michael Jeans, 1988.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

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. Related material may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.