Tribute to The Lady

An impression of the life and work of Lilian Baylis

Edited and Produced by Val May
Directed by Val May

The National Theatre

The Old Vic
28th February - One Performance

  • Albert Finney ........ Narrator
    Peggy Ashcroft ........ Lilian Baylis
    Susan Fleetwood ........ Sybil Thorndike
    Denis Quilley ........ Russell Thorndike, Tudor Davies, Bruce Worsley
    Anna Carteret ........ Clarkie, Ninette de Valois
    Polly Adams ........ Beatrice Wilson
    Angela Lansbury ........ Emma Cons, Annette Prevost
    Daniel Thorndike ........ Ben Greet, Lawrance Collingwood
    Frank Finlay ........ Father Andrew
    Gawn Grainger ........ Hugh Walpole
    Robert Eddison ........ Ernest Milton
    Special appearances:
    John Gielgud
    Ralph Richardson

    The last night of the National Theatre at the Old Vic - a single performance of Val May's documentary about Lilian Baylis, Tribute to the Lady, with Peggy Ashcroft as the Lady.

    A charity gala performance by members of the present National Theatre Company on behalf of the Royal Victoria Hall (Old Vic) Foundation. The building known as the Old Vic was opened in 1818 as the Royal Coburg. The title was changed in 1833 to the Royal Victoria Theatre. In 1886 the freehold was vested in a trust under the Charity Commission on behalf of the people of London.

    Lilian Baylis managed the Old Vic for a quarter of a century and paved the way for the English National Opera, the Royal Ballet, and the National Theatre This evening is the National Theatre's last performance at the Old Vic before moving to its new home the South Bank.

    The National Theatre has been based at the Old Vic since the NT was formed in 1963 under Laurence Olivier who remained its artistic director until 1973.

    Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralf Richardson made special appearances. Sir Laurence Olivier was to play the part of the narrator (as he had done in a previous performance of the play on the 6th May 1974) but was unable to perform - Albert Finney stepped in.

    In her curtain speech Ashcroft repeated Baylis' threat to come back and haunt The Old Vic should her and her aunt Emma Cons' work ever be put at risk.