11 February 2016 / Events

Excavating Enthoven: the Life and Times of a Theatre Collector

Presented by Dr Kate Dorney

In 1924, Gabrielle Enthoven, the self-styled ‘theatrical encyclopedia’, successfully persuaded the Victoria & Albert Museum to accept her collection of playbills, prints, drawings, engravings and photographs as the basis for a department of theatre and performance. She continued to fund the acquisition and cataloguing of the collection until her death in 1950 and left the bulk of her estate to continue her work. A playwright, actress, producer, first-nighter, inveterate theatre collector and the STR’s first President, Enthoven’s life and career intersected with the great and good of the theatre world yet she is now little more than a footnote in their biographies despite her role in creating Britain’s first national collection of performing arts. This talk will explore her work and legacy, share the V&A’s recent re-investigation of her and stimulate more interest in the woman behind the edifice.

Dr Kate Dorney is Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Performance at the Victoria & Albert Museum and one of the editors of Studies in Theatre & Performance. She is the author of The Changing Language of Modern English Drama 1945-2005 and Played in Britain: Modern British Theatre in 100 Plays, co-written with Frances Gray.


11 February 2016




Swedenborg Hall, Barter Street, London, UK

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