University of Texas at Austin

Basil Langton:

An Inventory of His Theater Interview Transcripts at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Langton, Basil, 1912-
Title: Basil Langton Theater Interview Transcripts 1960-1962
Dates: 1960-1962
Extent: 1 box (.42 linear feet)
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-02382
Access: Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 1964 (R980)
Processed by: Bob Taylor, 1999

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Born in Bristol, England, in 1912, Basil Langton was educated in Vancouver, British Columbia, and began his theatrical career there in 1930. By 1935 Langton was performing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford; during the Second World War he became a producer and director associated with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Since 1945 Langton has been active in the performing arts in the United States, serving as director of numerous productions. Langton has also been involved in teaching, writing, and the graphic arts.


Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, v.2. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1985.

Scope and Contents

Research material for a projected book on the stagecraft of Bernard Shaw ( "George Bernard Shaw at Work in the Theatre"), consisting of unedited typescript transcripts of 26 interviews with 27 interviewees. Interviewees include Dame Edith Evans, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Christopher Fry, and Dame Sybil Thorndike.
The interviews comprising this collection were conducted between January 1960 and August 1962 with actors who had performed in the plays of Shaw at a time when he had personal involvement in their production. Langton wished to test by this means his thesis that while Shaw was "at the forefront of the modern theatre," his stagecraft was of an earlier epoch, depending on "the 19th century actor's theatre of declamation and rhetoric."
The 26 transcripts comprising this collection were taken from 74 reel-to-reel tapes held by the Ransom Center. It's probable these tapes have not been fully transcribed in all cases.

Separated Material

Sound recordings were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recording collection and are described individually in a list at the end of this finding aid and in a searchable database.

Basil Langton Theater Interview Transcripts--Folder List