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Morley, Sheridan: The Sheridan Morley Theatre Collection

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KUAS48
Held at: Kingston University
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Full title: Morley, Sheridan: The Sheridan Morley Theatre Collection
Date(s): 1704-2007
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 54 boxes plus oversize items, objects, audio visual material and c. 5000 books
Name of creator(s): Morley, Sheridan | 1941-2007 | theatre critic, director, author and broadcaster
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


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. He was named after a character that Robert Morley was currently playing in 'The Man Who Came to Dinner'. 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 Morley Meets' for the BBC and 'Theatreland' for London Weekend Television (LWT), and on radio he presented 'Kaledioscope' 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 performing in cabaret 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 of 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.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers and books belonging to the theatre critic Sheridan Morley (1941-2007). Includes correspondence, records relating to his various productions, 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, theatre memorabilia and ephemera and objects.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged into the following series: Correspondence, Plays Directed or Devised, Books Written by Sheridan Morley, Theatre Reviews, Broadcasting and other work, Sheridan Morley's Childhood, Sheridan Morley At University, Personal Records, Photographs, Gladys Cooper, Robert Morley, Scripts and Scores Collected, Theatre and Other Programmes Collected, Noel Coward related items, Items Collected by Sheridan Morley, Publications collected by Sheridan Morley.

Conditions governing access:

Open. Please contact the Archivist to make an appointment.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Some items unable to be copied due to copyright or preservation reasons- please send any requests to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue can be found on Kingston University's Online Catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

The records were held by Sheridan Morley at his home, with some in storage. They were then packaged up and sent to the University

Immediate source of acquisition:

Ruth Leon

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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