CollectionDaw Programme Collection
TitleDaw Programme Collection
Name of creatorDaw, Michael G.
Extent470 Items
DescriptionA collection of theatre programmes, dating between 1955 and 2000, collected by Michael G. Daw, and deposited with the University of Kent Special Collections & Archives in 2001.
NotesMichael Daw has contributed his own account of his programme collecting.
PhysicalDescription225 mm x 150 mm
Admin history"After growing up building tiny model theatres with sets based on the only live theatre I had seen - WW2 pantomime - I graduated to building a full size stage at school and to stage management and acting in some amateur drama in an exquisite small 18th Century theatre in the Royal Marine Barracks in Plymouth. My first exposure to a West End production (not counting the obligatory adolescent sighting of Miss Phyllis Dixey in a statuesque nude revue at the seedy Windmill) was in 1955: Margaret Leighton and Eric Portman in Rattigan's "Private Lives" at the elegant St.James' theatre in Jermyn Street. "Rivetted by this experience, for the next several years all my spare cash was spent on hectic Saturday trips to London catching the first possible train 'up' from Plymouth, seeing three, sometimes four, shows and returning on the last train back. Work in London from 1960 - 65 living in Bloomsbury and Chelsea enabled me to see as much as my purse and other social demands on my time would allow. I always relished the whole atmosphere of theatre-going and was fortunate enough to enjoy some of the great actors of the day in their prime: Olivier, Gielgud, Richardson, Vivien Leigh et al, plus the beginnings of significant theatrical developments: the RSC's West End debut at the Aldwych, the creations of Bernard Miles's Mermaid Theatre and the Chichester Festival Theatre, the new flourishing of the Royal Court and the revival of using non-theatre spaces - upstairs rooms at public houses, the Roundhouse, the old Essoldo cinema in Chelsea (for Rocky Horror), etc. Job-transfers to Washington D.C., first in the late '60s and again in the mid '70s opened up the not-too-far-away delights of New York's Broadway and especially the many Off-Broadway, fringe and experimental theatrical experiences, both in theatrical venues and at parties-with-performances which were available - and very exciting. Washington itself offered the modern grandeur of the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, plus the very plain National Theatre, a countryside-set, open-sided structure called the Wolf-Trap Theatre and the relatively experimental Arena Stage. Of course I attended them all, besides being involved with our Embassy's amateur drama group. Back in Britain a tour of duty in Scotland led me to Glasgow's Citizen's Theatre and a whirlwind of succession of productions at an Edinburgh Festival. Returning to England, I resumed my West End visits, this time less hectically from Bath and I continue to enjoy the extensive and varied touring and pre- and post-West End productions at Bath's beautifully refurbished Theatre Royal. Throughout these many years, I enjoyed savouring, through my collection of programmes, the pleasures - and disappointments - which the great range of shows brought me. In the '50s and 60s, the programmes were little more than over-priced, prettily printed cast lists. They are still over-priced in my view, but at least most now provide some interesting background on the play, the players, the author, etc.. In the USA they are also fairly informative but, more fairly, free!"
Related PersonDaw, Michael G.
CategoryTheatre programme
Access conditionsThis material is available for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU (
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