When Lilian Baylis was badly hurt after a car accident, someone at the scene called out, 'It's Miss Baylis. Miss Baylis of the Old Vic.' In spite of her injuries, Baylis drew herself up and imperiously corrected them, 'And Sadler's Wells.' But Baylis was much more than the manager of the Old Vic And Sadler's Wells - she was also a founding mother of the British National Theatre, the Royal Ballet and the English National Opera. She gave career-changing breaks to actors such as John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier, created new roles for Alicia Markova and furthered the careers of stars in the making such as Alec Guinness, Margot Fonteyn and Joan Cross. Even Joan Littlewood desperately wanted to work for Baylis. This biography sets out to discover how Baylis was able to manage two theatres and three companies, bringing what was considered the very best of high culture to working people, and still haul her theatres into profit. Elizabeth Schafer looks beyond the famous comic anecdotes and discovers the private woman behind the public persona.
Based on new and original research, the book draws extensively on Baylis autobiographical writing, detailing her early career as a musician and dancer and her love for the company of pioneering, independent and high-powered career women. It reveals how Baylis achieved so much, what it cost her, and gives a glimpse of the autobiography Baylis herself never found time to write.
Publisher: University of Hertfordshire Press
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 15 mm
Edition: New edition