The Terence Rattigan SocietySir Terence Rattigan

The Terence Rattigan Society was founded in Sir Terence Rattigan’s centenary year, 2011,  to celebrate, enjoy and study the work and life of one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest playwrights.  A prolific and successful author of plays and film scripts,  Terence Rattigan’s most celebrated works include ‘French Without Tears’, ‘The Winslow Boy’, ‘The Browning Version’, ‘The Deep Blue Sea’, and ‘Separate Tables’.

BENEFITS of membership include:

A regular printed copy of the dedicated magazine, with articles by leading playwrights, biographers and critics, as well as theatre listings and news and views.

Visits to the leading drama schools for Rattigan productions, by talented young students.

Masterclasses for students both young and mature, arranged in cooperation with the drama schools.

Theatre visits at discount prices, with optional suppers and an opportunity to meet like-minded people.  Discussions with cast members and directors.

Opportunities to visit Rattigan’s home at Albany and his birthplace in Cornwall Gardens.

Events at The Garrick Club, courtesy of its historian, Geoffrey Wansell.

Opportunities to attend events at Rattigan’s former school, Harrow and to explore their Rattigan archive.

Opportunities to visit RAF sites with a Rattigan resonance, with film screenings and supper.

Walking tours of areas where Rattigan lived and worked.

The Society was founded in 2011 with the support and approval of The Sir Terence Rattigan Charitable Trust and also of his biographers, Michael Darlow and Geoffrey Wansell.

President: David Suchet, CBE.
Vice Presidents
:  Michael Darlow, The Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, DL, Dr Holly Hill, Greta Scacchi, Geoffrey Wansell
Chairman:  Barbara Longford

Latest News

Forthcoming productions

Last modified on 2019-06-08 19:48:53 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

In October the Bath Theatre Royal will give a rare opportunity to see two pre-eminent actors performing In Praise of Love in the intimate setting of the Ustinov Studio. Robert Lindsay & Tara Fitzgerald will star in Terence Rattigan’s last play, a perceptive and powerful drama about the concealed truths and veiled emotions in a marriage.

Sebastian and Lydia Crutwell live in a small flat in Islington. Sebastian, once a promising novelist, is now a cantankerous critic. Lydia, an Estonian refugee, has recently discovered she is seriously ill, news that she confides to a family, Mark, but not to Sebastian. Over the course of two evenings, a series of heart-breaking revelations changes the facade of Lydia and Sebastian’s relationship forever.

Deeply moving and filled with beautifully crafted dialogue, this compelling drama demonstrates Rattigan’s incomparable ability to define the British character.

The play will be directed by Jonathan Church who during his time as Artistic Director of the Chichester Festival Theatre proved himself to be a champion of Rattigan’s work mounting several productions and rehearsed readings in the anniversary year.

In Praise of Love runs from Wednesday 3rd October to Saturday 3rd November
Evening performances at 7.45pm, matinees (Wednesday & Saturday) at 2.30pm.
Press Night Monday 15th October at 7pm. Post Show Discussion on Thursday 25th October

In November the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama will be mounting Flare Path partly financed by the society’s Harold & Pegs French Award generously funded by Holly Hill.

Holly explained the purpose of the award and her delight at the forthcoming production:

Imagine full houses for Terence Rattigan’s plays in fifty, one hundred, hundreds of years from now. Happy thoughts, and a goal that the TRS can further right now by engaging young theatre professionals’ and playgoers’ enthusiasm and support for Rattigan’s work.

With this end in mind, I have committed a yearly sum to the Society. Our Committee brilliantly suggested that this could be used to support a production of a Rattigan play each year by a drama school.

And to develop the new programme, the Committee found the superbly qualified Professor Michael Gaunt. A theatre director; acting teacher; drama school principal; theatre historian and also Chairman of The Society for Theatre Research and a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Prof. Gaunt generously accepted the Committee’s invitation to join it as Drama Liaison Director. Michael has arranged for the Royal Central School of Drama (whose alumni include Olivier, Ashcroft, Dench, four Redgraves, Michael Grandage and relative youngsters Andrew Garfield and Kit Harrington) to stage Flare Path. TRS members are invited to the Saturday, 24 November performance.

When we were considering a name for this new venture, I thought of Harold and Pegs French. Harold French, as we all know, was the director of Rattigan’s first great success French without Tears, in 1936. Harold and his second wife Pegs were close friends and eventually caregiver-companions of Sir Terence, with him through his final illness and death. At the last, as Michael Darlow movingly wrote in his Rattigan biography: “…with Pegs French sitting beside him…He gave a slight smile and his head dropped on to her shoulder.”

I well remember the great kindness shown to me by Pegs French while I was working on my Ph.D dissertation A Critical Analysis of the Plays of Terence Rattigan. In the summer of 1975, Pegs, acting as Sir Terence’s personal assistant, welcomed me into his Albany chambers to work with his papers. I was allowed to take away, study and copy everything, including his juvenilia, the three versions of The Deep Blue Sea, his scrapbooks of press cuttings and countless other treasures now in the British Library. I was nervous all the time that my bedsit might burn down, or I’d be hit by a car and the papers I was carrying would scatter. What a priceless privilege I was given (and what a clever and kind way to keep a graduate student from being underfoot in Sir Terence’s home).

After Sir Terence’s death, I saw Harold and Pegs frequently in London. We had silly fun—Harold won the Snooker tournament at his club and wore the Snooker Champion shirt I had made for him; Pegs and I met for lunch and tea—once we were at the Ritz tearoom when all the guests were asked to go out into the garden because of a fire alarm upstairs. Several glasses of champagne later, I asked for the bill and we were told that there was none; the Ritz apologized for our inconvenience! We celebrated when I was named New York Theatre Correspondent for The Times in 1984; I was very grateful that they knew that the student to whom they were so nice was having a success.

So, for all that Harold and Pegs French meant to me and, more importantly, for all that they meant to Rattigan and Rattigan meant to them, I am thrilled that the TRS will have a component known as The French Fund—short for The Harold and Pegs French Memorial Fund. I hope that Society members will come to the 24 November performance of Flare Path at the Royal Central School of Drama to support a new generation of theatre artists performing the work of Terence Rattigan.


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