Collection relating to Harold Fielding's production of 'Cinderella'

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of five copies of complete scripts for the 1958 production of the pantomime Cinderella produced by Harold Fielding at the London Coliseum. It also includes salary information, running order lists of props, minutes of progress meetings by Fielding and his company and company costume requirements and schedules for the dancers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Fielding's Cinderella was notable for taking a new approach to the more traditional British pantomime, whilst also harking back to the lavish Drury Lane pantomimes of the late 19th century. It was based on the American musical version of the story composed by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, that had been originally written for a live CBS broadcast on American television on 31 March 1957 starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella. Although Rodgers and Hammerstein were already very well known for their stage musicals such as their 1943 Oklahoma!, this was their first musical to be televised.

Harold Fielding produced his expanded, re-orchestrated version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in a style carefully designed to appeal to British audiences of all ages and interests. The stepsisters Portia and Joy were played in drag by the radio star Kenneth Williams and Variety's comic strongman Ted Durante, while the comedian Jimmy Edwards, well-known from the radio's popular programme Take It From Here played The King. By casting the twenty-two year old Rock 'n Roll sensation Tommy Steele as Buttons, and the singer Yana in the title role, Fielding was also appealing to younger pop fans and was going against the tradition of a female principal boy by casting the baritone singer Bruce Trent as the Prince.

Fielding's Cinderella, directed by Freddie Carpenter, was the first pantomime at the London Coliseum for fourteen years, and with spectacular sets designed by Loudon Sainthill and a large cast including a flock of live geese, it was the most expensive pantomime ever costing £100,000 to mount, with the ballroom scene alone costing £12,500.

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: 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

Purchase from Mullock's Ltd.

Archivist's Note

Description by Joanna Norledge, August 2012.

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 the collections managment policy.

Accruals

No accruals expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material relating to Harold Fielding, productions of Cinderella and pantomime in general may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.

Subjects