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Nov 26

U3A Network of SW London Interested in Theatre History?

A project is starting early next year at Kingston University archives to be based on the Cary Ellison Theatre Programme Collection.

Cary Ellison was a talent spotter who worked for the casting directory Spotlight and as part of his work he went on twice yearly tours of repertory performances around the country in order to find up and coming actors, directors and plays. The programmes of these productions, heavily annotated by Ellison, are now at Kingston University. They cover theatre performances from around the UK and also the London West End from the Fifities to Eighties when Ellison was touring the country.

Actors he spotted early on their careers include Derek Jacobi, Richard Briars and Judi Dench. He also made notes on established actors as Lawrence Olivier, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson and Vivien Leigh at the peak of their fame.

His engrossing and entertaining programmes with their detailed notes are being conserved at Kingston University archives. U3A has been asked to work on a project to research aspects of the history of the programmes and the British theatre during the Fifties to early Eighties relating to Cary Ellison’s work.

This project will interest anyone with a love of the theatre in this country. A small number of members have already registered that they would like to be involved and we would like to extend involvement to other members of the U3A. If you wish to know more about these programmes and the archives at Kingston University contact Dayna Miller, the archivist at

If you would like to register an interest in working on this project please email Sue Leigh (Wandsworth U3A) at and further details on the arrangements for the project and an application form will be sent to you.