Thursday, April 05, 2007


It is difficult to overstate the contribution of the Flower family to the RSC. Four chairmen, Charles Flower [1879-1891], his brother Edgar [1891-1903], Edgar’s son Archie [1903-1944], and Archie’s son Fordham [1944-1966] presided over the company’s fortunes in an unbroken line for 87 years. Charles provide most of the money for the first theatre and subsidised the company thereafter: Archie led the campaign to raise the money [most of which came from America] for the Memorial Theatre: and Fordham chaired the Company through its transition from what was virtually a private undertaking to the publicly-supported organisation that exists today.

Here is how Sally Beauman describes Archie Flower’s style of chairmanship in her excellent history of the RSC,

“Archie ruled the Stratford theatre – managed is too gentle a word - totally. Every decision, artistic, financial, bureaucratic, was referred to him. Archie appointed the directors of the festivals, and – when they resigned – their successors. He checked the books; he fixed the production budgets; often he decided which plays should be put on, and who should appear in them. He was involved in the casting, contracts, salaries, touring, advertising, the design of the theatre, and any changes to its structure. No set could be made, or costume sewn, until he had previously vetted the cost.”

What a lot I have to learn.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent piece in The Spectator - nice to see it drawing both on this blog and that for the Edition, which is now becoming properly active within the now live website, - your link needs updating!
Jonathan 'Dogberry Editor' Bate

4:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home