Peter Streuli

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection consists of the correspondence, papers, work notes, translations, desk diaries, memorabilia and designs of Peter Streuli and provides an insight into the progression of his long career.

Administrative / Biographical History

In a forty year career in the theatre, Peter Streuli worked as an actor, director and producer, as well as being assistant director at The Old Vic Theatre School and later Director of Technical Training at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He was born in Ealing, West London in 1915 and educated at Taunton School and Birkbeck College, where he was a member of the dramatic society. He studied acting at the Webber Douglas School, graduating in 1938 and spent the next several years as a juvenile lead in over 80 plays in London, provincial repertory theatres and on tours of England and Scotland.

In 1944 he joined the Birmingham Repertory Theatre under Sir Barry Jackson as a stage director and actor and was also joint organiser of the Birmingham Theatre School. Two years later he moved back to London as production manager at the Arts Theatre, where he was also able to produce. After touring Europe in 1946/7 with the English Arts Theatre Company, he married Marion Menzies in 1947 and moved into regional repertory theatre, firstly as a producer at Worthing for nine months and then to Southport, Lancashire as director, producer and sometimes designer of a fortnightly repertory company.

His career took a new direction in 1950 when he was appointed assistant director at the Old Vic Theatre School, working alongside Glen Byam Shaw, George Devine and Michel St Denis and in 1952 he was invited to become stage director and lighting designer at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford where he stayed for five seasons. Among the memorable productions he worked on as a director were Antony and Cleopatra (1953) with Michael Redgrave and Peggy Ashcroft, Othello (1954) with Anhony Quayle, Twelfth Night (1955) with John Gielgud, Macbeth and Titus Andronicus (1955) both with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh and Peter Brook's production of The Tempest (1957) with John Gielgud.

Whilst still continuing to act - for example as The Inquisitor in St Joan (1958) at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and produce - Rashid, Doctor in the House, Look Back in Anger (1958) - Streuli was appointed Director of Productions for the Pitlochry Theatre in 1959 where his experience and meticulous planning saw five productions staged that season. He would continue his association with Pitlochry until 1962. In the meantime, he had joined the teaching staff at the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1960 where three years later he was appointed Director of Technical (Stage Management) Training. He retired in 1981. Of his time there, National Theatre director Julian Barnes paid tribute by saying "Peter ensured that students learnt how to appreciate both the actors' and writer's craft, through play study and joint classes. They learnt to speak and move, sharing the actors' skills. Such disciplines for technicians are rare." Peter Streuli died on January 2nd, 2007, aged 91. He was survived by his two sons Michael and Charles.

Arrangement

The original working order of this archive has largely been lost. It has therefore been divided into seven series:

  • THM/382/1: Diaries
  • THM/382/2: Correspondence
  • THM/382/3: Production notes
  • THM/382/4: Theatrical papers
  • THM/382/5: Translations
  • THM/382/6: Memorabilia
  • THM/382/7: Designs

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

Received as a gift from Michael Streuli in 2009.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Custodial History

This archive formed part of the estate of Peter Streuli.

Accruals

Further accruals are not expected.