Peggy Ann Wood Archive
Peggy Ann Wood (1912 - 1998) made an important contribution to theatrical life in Bristol and beyond, in partnership with her husband Ronald Russell (1910 - 1994). Together they ran the Rapier Players, managing the Little Theatre at the Colston Hall in Bristol for 28 years between 1935 and 1963, presenting over 900 productions (ranging from Strindberg and Chekhov to Coward and Rattigan, and including nearly 50 world premieres) and employing dozens of actors who later established themselves elsewhere as well-known names or useful company members.
Among them were Michael Hordern, Mervyn Johns, Constance Chapman, Peter Jeffery, Clifford Rose, Jean Watts, Malcolm Farquhar, Sheila Allen, John Warner, and Lockwood West, whose actor son Timothy recalls:
"All through the war, the Rapier Players were a little beacon of light, lifting the spirits of the audience. Peggy Ann not only played dozens of leading roles - in anything from a Ben Travers farce to Ibsen's A Doll's House - but she often directed the productions, and had a hand in the management and the programming. The company was a Bristol institution - even when I was appearing on television, members of the public who approached me would more often talk about the famous Rapier Players' "two for the price of one" Monday night shows!"
What the collection holds
The Peggy Ann Wood Collection is a personal collection illustrating the early career of this wonderful character actress, with production and portrait photographs, press cuttings and theatre programmes. There is also an Oral History tape, recorded with Peggy Ann in 1994. This collection is supplemented with our collections of Little Theatre programmes and production photographs.
The online catalogue for this collection can be viewed here:
PAW - Peggy Ann Wood (and Ronald Russell) Collection
It is currently uncatalogued so please contact us for further information regarding its contents and access.
A blue plaque dedicated to Peggy Ann Wood & Ronald Russell can be seen here.