Sheridan Morley Theatre Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers and books belonging to the theatre critic Sheridan Morley (1941-2007). Includes correspondence with well known figures in the performing arts; records relating to the various productions he devised, directed or appeared in; volumes of press coverings covering his reviews; research notes and transcripts of some of his publications; photographs; records relating to his father Robert Morley and Grandmother Gladys Cooper; records relating to Noel Coward; and theatre memorabilia collected by Morley over the years including theatre programmes, playbills, theatre related magazines and objects.

His library contains over 5000 books relating to the theatre and the performing arts, with particularly strong collections of books relating to Noel Coward, biographies of well known figures in the performing arts, and play scripts. There is also a substantial collection of audio visual materials including videos, LPs and cassettes.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sheridan Morley was born on 05 Dec 1941, the son of actor Robert Morley and Joan Buckmaster. His maternal Grandmother was actress Gladys Cooper, and maternal Grandfather was Herbert Buckmaster, the inventor of the Buck's Fizz cocktail. He was named after a character that Robert Morley was playing in The Man Who Came to Dinner at the time of his birth. He was educated at Sizewell Hall school on the Sussex Coast, and later studied Modern Language at Merton College, Oxford. His education included a year in Switzerland to study languages. While at University he was the secretary of the Oxford University Drama Society (OUDS), and appeared in a number of productions.

After University and working in Hawaii for a year, Sheridan Morley worked for Independent Television News for some years as a reporter. At this point he started to write articles on the theatre in the press, and in 1967 moved to BBC 2 to present the art showcase Late Night Line-Up and later Film Night. Also for television he presented Sheridan Meets for the BBC and Theatreland for London Weekend Television (LWT), and on radio he presented Kaleidoscope for Radio 4 and Meridian for the BBC World Service. He regularly appeared as a panellist for quiz shows on both television and radio.

As a critic he wrote initially for The Times and Punch, and later for the Sunday Telegraph, Evening Standard, International Herald Tribune, The Spectator and the Daily Express. He also produced a number of plays, most notably Noel and Gertie, a tribute to Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence. Other productions include If Love Were All, The Chalk Garden, The Lodger, Jermyn Street Revue, Spread a Little Happiness and Song at Twilight. As well as directing productions Sheridan Morley also appeared in many, including the narrator in Side by Side by Sondheim on many occasions and as the narrator in his own Noel and Gertie, along side giving a number of talks and cabarets both on his own and with others, notably Michael Law.

Sheridan Morley also wrote a great number of books, including a biography of his friend Noel Coward. He also edited and introduced Coward's diaries and a number of his play scripts. Other notable biographies include those for John Gielgud, Dirk Bogarde, and Robert Morley. He wrote a number of books on theatre and film in general, including Spread a Little Happiness and Tales from the Hollywood Raj.

Sheridan Morley was close friends with a number of actors, actresses, directors and producers. He married Margaret Gudjeko in 1965, the marriage was later dissolved in 1990. He then married Ruth Leon in 1995. He has three children by his first marriage- Hugo, Alexis and Juliet. Sheridan Morley died on 16 Feb 2007 at the age of 65.

Arrangement

Arranged by activity. Kept in original order where possible. The books have been arranged in dewey decimal order

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers by appointment- please email archives@kingston.ac.uk. Appointments typically offered Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am - 4.30pm. For more information on Kingston University Archives and Special Collections please see our website at http://blogs.kingston.ac.uk/asc

Other Finding Aids

Also see our archives catalogue here

Books and audio visual material is catalogued onto our library catalogue

Conditions Governing Use

Some items in the collection cannot be copied due to its physical condition, or due to copyright restrictions. Please contact the archive with any copying requests on archives@kingston.ac.uk

Custodial History

The records were held by Sheridan Morley in his homes. After his death they were presented to Kingston University Archives and Special Collections by Ruth Leon