Opening of the Vanbrugh Theatre

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art - RADA
Thursday Evening December 2nd 1954


    Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother opens Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts RADA new premises at the Vanbrugh Theatre in London.


  • RADA's Academy Theatre was destroyed during World War II by a bomb in the early hours of 17 April 1941. For the next thirteen years all RADA productions took place in the Little Theatre or in the nearby City Literary Hall.

    The replacement for the Academy was opened on the 2nd of December 1954, the ceremony performed by Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The new theatre was named the Vanbrugh, to commemorate Dame Irene Vanbrugh and Violet Vanbrugh, the distinguished actresses who had given so much of their time to RADA. Their brother, Sir Kenneth Barnes, was the first Principal of RADA.

    A programme of scenes were performed by RADA students to show both the "stage equipment and to trace the tradition of Drama through the ages" (Sir Kenneth Barnes).

    Frank performed in two of the scenes. Notable student names include; John Stride, Brian Bedford, Albert Finney, Bryan Pringle, Virginia Maskell, Roy Kinnear, Anne Reid and Derren Nesbitt (as Derry Nesbitt).