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The Jerwood Library of Performing Arts

Denise Silverster-Carr on the history of this unique resource for research.

In August 1939 Mary Ellis was starring in The Dancing Years at Drury Lane, John Gielgud was appearing in matinee performances of The Importance of Being Earnest and Lupino Lane was doing the ‘Lambeth Walk’ in Me and My Girl at the Victoria Palace. By September 4th, they were all out of work. London theatres, even the Windmill which boasted ‘we never closed’, lowered their curtains at the outbreak of the Second World War, though within a few weeks they were back in business.

This is information I gleaned in the Jerwood Library of Performing Arts while researching wartime theatre.

It is also where I discovered that musicians could compare Sir John Barbirolli’s style of conducting Elgar’s Symphony No 1, Opus 55, with that of other conductors. His annotated score, as well as a beautifully bound presentation copy signed by every member of the orchestra, is among the thousands of scores and sound recordings in the library.

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