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Peggy Ashcroft - Michael Billington

John Murray, 1988, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Price Clipped. Slight ruffling to the top edge of the dust wrapper otherwise a very well presented copy.

Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: “To lovers of the stage, Dame Peggy Ashcroft is more than just a very great actress, she represents the heart of British theatre. This, the first book about her life that has her blessing, encompasses not only the most important roles but also the greatest theatrical developments in this century. It starts with her discovery of the theatre while a Croydon schoolgirl, and her dream, after reading of the Moscow Art Theatre, of becoming part of a permanent company of actors — unknown then in England. It describes her work at Lilian Baylis’s Old Vie where every expense was spared; her playing Desdemona opposite Paul Robeson’s Othello which caused such extraordinary high feeling; her seasons with John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier at The New, The Queen’s and The Haymarket; her involvement with the Royal Court under George Devine, the Royal Shakespeare Company under Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn and the National Theatre in its move to the South Bank. Dame Peggy has been a vital part of every new movement in British theatre over the past fifty years.

Her Indian summer in television and film brought award winning performances in The Jewel in the Crown and A Passage to India. Her greatness, in all media, is due in part to the relentless perfectionism of her technique, but it also stems from her qualities as a woman, her compassion for all sorts and conditions of people, her tireless work for humanitarian causes and her passionate curiosity about the world we live in.

In writing this fascinating biography of a complex and private woman, Michael Billington has been able to draw on very many conversations with Dame Peggy herself and with her contemporaries, including Sir John Gielgud, George Rylands, Sir Anthony Quayle and Sir Peter Hall. The range of her experience — from Shakespeare and Chekhov to Pinter, Brecht and Beckett — is astonishing, and the account of the problems of an actor’s life gives the layman a vivid insight behind the scenes.”


Size: 9½" x 6¼". Black boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 312 pages.
£7.50