Here, in this port of ships, we built a stage,
Where the crusaders of the sea should find,
Their travels done, another pilgrimage
Calling them as crusaders of the mind;
We built a stage, that thereon should be told
All arguments that ever went to school –
We sheltered beauty, crying in the cold –
We built another port of Liverpool.
- John Drinkwater, 1932
- the benefits of theatre ownership
- the adoption and modification of the limited company apparatus for repertory theatre governance
- the conduct of board–management relations
- the development of artistic policy
- the experience of cooperative management
- the roles of the artistic director and general manager
- the relationship of the company to its community and home city
In other papers, I have discussed the examples of management at four earlier repertory theatre companies: Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, the Ulster Literary Theatre, Manchester’s Gaiety Theatre and the Glasgow Repertory Theatre. These theatres aimed to public service, whereas a larger number of commercial repertories with different sensibilities, particularly The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, were formed to replace commercial touring when cinema challenged the live theatre.
I seek to address an underlying question: ‘how were the artistic policies and management practices constructed in early repertory theatre and how do these experiences connect to the organisation of non-profit theatre management today?’
Repertory-as-theatre proprietor: Liverpool Playhouse
The non-profit business model for a ‘citizens’ theatre that was first seen at the peripatetic Ulster Literary Theatre (1902-1934) and theatre-renting Glasgow Repertory Theatre (1909-1914) reached maturity in Liverpool through ownership of a theatre. Theatregoers, who had seen productions at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester, formed the Liverpool Playgoers’ Society. They invited Alfred Wareing (1898-1942), artistic director at Glasgow, to address a public meeting, whereupon a guarantee fund was established to underwrite a company in the community oriented organisational style of the Glasgow Repertory Theatre. Whether or not the supporters realised it, they possessed extrinsic advantages for creating an audience by locating a producing company in Liverpool because, with a comparable population of 747,000, there were only 27,178 seats in its fourteen theatres. This represented a ratio of seats to population of only 1:28, being approximately one-half of the potential competition faced by the repertory companies in Manchester and Glasgow.
In 1911, Basil Dean (1888-1978) was engaged as ‘controller and producer’ and a successful six-week trial season was given at the 2,020 seat Kelly’s Theatre, making an atypical profit of £800 (£46,500 in today’s value). Investments received from a broad circle of 1,200 shareholders were left unspent. The society was therefore confident enough to incorporate as Liverpool Repertory Theatre Limited and then, after realising that it could not afford to build a purpose-built home, acquired the Star Theatre. Thus, the razor-edge problems of dealing with a theatre landlord experienced at Belfast and Glasgow were resolved: Liverpool was the first repertory to own the freehold of a theatre, when this music hall was purchased for £28,000 (£1,630,000 today). Even though £22,000 (£1,280,000) of this was on mortgage, it would not have to deal with a proprietor. The company was free to redesign and modernise the theatre as it saw fit, which cost a further £4,000 (£233,000). This was paid in shares to the architectural practice run by Sir Charles (Herbert) Reilly (1974-1946), a prime mover in the company who was also chairman of its board of directors and professor of architecture at the University of Liverpool. He worked with fellow architect Stanley Adshead, the professor of town planning at the university.
Because no dividends were expected, this was the first instance of in-kind corporate sponsorship in repertory. The seating capacity was reduced from 2,100 to only 760. This avoided the trap of over-housing the company, whilst limiting the potential for high income from a hit show. The refurbishment scheme also enlarged the shallow music hall stage-depth to a more suitable 32-feet. However, because of delays to these alterations, the company was forced to open the first production, The Admirable Crichton (J. M. Barrie, 1902), at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester.
The Liverpool company announced in their programmes that ‘the immediate success of the venture will be the individual responsibility of every member of the audience’, and for the first two years the theatre was well attended for plays that, as in Manchester and Glasgow, reflected social changes, such as Strife (John Galsworthy, 1909) and The Pillars of Society (Henrik Ibsen, 1889).
Liverpool Playhouse and the experience of board-management relations
Although ownership of a building was at this time a preferred aspiration for repertory, for this paper Liverpool is equally significant because the first full-blown example of inveterate dissension between an honorary board of directors and an artistic director’s authority is open to view. Of course, the twelve-member board, drawn from the city’s professional and business worlds, represented the white-collar public but in the sense that they might have been a microcosm of the audience, that public could exert considerable direct influence on artistic matters. The flashpoint was often the choice of plays, especially new or foreign drama. For instance, the nomination of ten new plays in the season of 1913-1914, out of a total of 23 productions, was an all-time high. But, experience of their poor box-office results, always unpredictable for premieres, led progressively to more cautious choices and in the next twenty years an average of only three new plays was staged in each year. Although harmony was usually achieved, Basil Dean chafed at the board’s trespassing on territory that he considered his domain. In his autobiography, he disinterred the problems of an entrepreneurial director who sought autonomy, reluctantly sharing decision-making and authority with a strong-minded committee:
The saying that money is the root of all evil was reversed in our case, for it was the lack of it which led to battles royal among the directors. Every Thursday they assembled in the front office, fresh from dealing with their own affairs, and eager to give the theatre the benefit of their special expertise. Attendances were regular and enthusiastic. But conflicts of opinion soon caused schism in the board-room. On the left were those who supported the chairman’s desire for experiment – but without expense! To the right were those agreed to any production likely to improve the bank balance, regardless of its effects on the theatre’s reputation. The small group who understood my desire to steer a middle-course were the ‘crossbenchers’ of the assembly.
At first the directors did not select the plays: they merely vetoed them. There were often pitched battles before final decisions reached. Suggestions put forward at the chairman’s behest were usually thought to be too advanced by the business members of the board. Commercial plays to redress an adverse verdict at the box-office were torn quietly apart by the University members. The astonishing amount of tension and excitement which the meetings aroused was doubtless good for the theatre; it certainly was for me…after a while the chairman began to control more than guide the arguments. When results were good at the box-office he would forget the anxieties of the previous meeting and chide me for not being more venturesome. The trouble was that [he] was fundamentally a teacher, a professor. Artists were a breed he did not understand, neither how they thought nor how to handle them. At the risk of contradicting myself, I must add however that he did act as a sort of gadfly, injecting the antidote of intelligent criticism into the complacent cup-and-saucer atmosphere which invaded the theatre whenever business was good.
Unlike Annie Horniman (1860-1937), who brought the Gaiety Theatre into being through private money, or even Wareing, who by persuading the board into formal existence was effectively the ultimate force in Glasgow, Dean had to negotiate an optimal choice of plays within board demands that were conditioned, in addition to the box-office, by their share-donations. In the minds of Manchester theatregoers, the Gaiety was homonymous with Horniman, whereas Liverpool demonstrates higher pressures of public service because the theatre was, in practice, owned and controlled by its ‘society’: a somewhat amorphous entity represented by the theatregoer-donors. Over and above the responsibilities of balancing the books through operations, they had an extra stake in the company because of refurbishment cost over-runs and ensuing mortgage debts. With compelling financial crises, including a deficit of £1,858 (£101,000) in 1913, no artistic director, however unshakably devoted to an overall policy, could have the discretion to select plays, as he or she would probably have desired. Choices had to consider financial realities, but given that finances were such an important part of the input that the board had to consider, Dean’s recollection of their meetings suggests a good partnership and balanced commitment to occasional risk by all concerned.
At Liverpool, the degree to which an artistic director was willing to choose plays by this time-consuming consensus and rapport with a board, often negotiated through the forceful but skilful personality of a chairman, became a feature of repertory management. Indeed, these tensions may be rendered as the one of the distinguishing features of the struggle to create and maintain the profession of theatre management in the repertory model: an artistic director’s presupposition that he or she had to embody the ability to convince lay people that only members of the theatre profession know enough about the theatre to evaluate practitioners’ work. Moreover, right up to the 1990s skirmishes at Liverpool Playhouse – and almost in defiance of a near‑century fund of repertory theatres’ experience – there remains the irresistible impression that, whatever the political sensitivities and maturity of an artistic director, many boards of directors still do not regard the management as doing a real job. For instance, at the Scottish National Theatre Society (which was the successor company to Glasgow Repertory Theatre) that feeling was mutual, as when Tyrone Guthrie (1900-1971), its artistic director from 1926, recalled his board having:
a weakness [……] which is surely endemic in lay committees directing the policy of enterprises in which they take a benign interest but about which they have almost no technical knowledge – they knew, neither severally nor collectively, neither in practice nor even in general terms, what they really did want.
Of course, in defence of boards, the law holds them – and not the artistic director – responsible for the theatre company even if they do not have detailed knowledge of the theatre, let alone reflect in their membership the social composition of the audience. Like Dean and Guthrie, most artistic directors have often regarded their board as a necessary evil but, on the other side the most important aspect might be the need for the board and management to try to provide an environment where play-choices are made with enthusiasm rather than reluctance; decisions made for reasons other than artistic potential are often doomed unless a director craves to inspire and guide a production from the outset.
Problems of play selection and the Liverpool board applied also to extant scripts, for although playwrights staged in the first seasons included many of the Court Theatre’s authors, an increasing proportion were ‘drawing-room comedies’ from the commercial theatre. One of the few foreign plays chosen, the ambitious Hannele (Gerhart Hauptmann, 1893) – that had been one of Stanislavski’s biggest successes at the Moscow Art Theatre and which Dean selected because of its author’s prominence as a Nobel Prize winner in 1913 – was his most expensive production and a failure at the box-office. This was especially so on tour to Manchester, which the Liverpool company undertook without guaranteed income. It lost £800 (£46,500) in two weeks. Dean recalled the impending personal disaster:
I knew it was only a question of time before the axe would fall. One Thursday afternoon after a long and solemn meeting, from which I was excluded, the board gave me notice to quit at the end of the season… [The] board of directors has been the source of [the theatre’s] strength and of its weakness… There has been too much board-room and not enough green-room in the theatre’s record.
His pronouncement about the Liverpool board has been reiterated by countless artistic directors in other cities and similar situations, with or without public subsidy. At this time, a grant from Liverpool City Council was unattainable and the company’s community stature was, in practice, informal. This meant that the board was free from overwhelming external constraints, even if the artistic director coped with internal interference. The shareholders were concerned not to subscribe to writing-off accumulated losses, let alone standing the chance of more debt being incurred in the future. In these circumstances, the directors also forced the chairman to resign, although he remained a director until 1948. The wider group of company shareholders played no part in his removal and naturally, unlike future shocks at Liverpool, no local authorities or arts council was there to make the chairman’s resignation a condition of financial rescue. Even so, someone from the business world replaced university ‘representation’: Colonel Sir John J. Shute, who chaired the company for 35 years to 1948. A new artistic director, the actor and playwright Laurence Hanray (1874-1947), was elected from the 21-member company and a plan for organisational ‘downsizing’ was proposed by the board, to include fewer actors in fewer plays for a shorter resident season, compensated by occasional co-productions with the Gaiety Theatre and visiting companies.
As in a mirror of today’s involuntary remedies, the board was moving towards a business bromide of compromised repertory management. Like the economics of repertory today, the Liverpool board realised that the marginal costs of additional home-grown productions on tour outside their theatre by the resident company were generally more expensive than an additional production or extra performances conducted at the theatre by a visiting company. Of course, this was not such a soft option as today, when the arts councils have promoted the proliferation of serious small‑scale touring drama companies in preference to encouraging the interchange and circulation of high quality repertory theatre shows. Even so, the Liverpool employees resisted the board’s cuts and, backed by the actors’ demands, Hanray was able to persuade them to stabilise the theatre, astonishingly by approving plans to increase the number of productions to 31, not only tempered by the nomination of well-known plays but also even to perform in repertoire for part of 1913. During this time, the financial advantage of reviving popular successes brought the theatre back from the brink of liquidation.
Liverpool Playhouse and the experience of cooperative management
Upon the outbreak of the First World War, with immediate experiences in its favour, the board, understandably, wanted to close the theatre, principally because its company directors, acting company and staff might be enlisted. Two weeks’ notice of termination was given to all contracts, whereupon the employees offered to take, and were given, responsibility for running the theatre as a collective, known as the ‘Commonwealth’. This organisational model was, of course, a time-honoured principle of theatre management, practised as early as the 1590s by Philip Henslowe (c.1550-1616), landlord and facilitator of the Rose Playhouse and The Admiral’s Men, London, where actors in his and other Elizabethan theatre companies were contracted as ‘sharers’. It is also interesting to venture whether its recurrence at Liverpool was impressed upon the actors by the now self-governing practices at Britain’s oldest symphony orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic that, when it was founded in 1840, was the first to invest its mainly itinerant musicians with authority over artistic, strategic and personnel management. In any event, the actors contracted to pay the board 25 per cent of box office receipts in respect of the theatre’s overheads. For drama, the scheme made the company something of a maverick organisation. Its radical attempt to democratise most aspects of artistic policy and administration suggested that repertory might even be financially self-supporting, by making no losses during the war. During this ‘Commonwealth’, in an omniscient response to jangling press accusations of the board being ‘over-enthusiastic repertorists’, they renamed the Repertory Theatre as the Playhouse in 1916, ‘to dispel the air of intellectuality and gloom which it was said clung to the earlier name’.
This interregnum - that was coordinated by actor Madge McIntosh (1875-1950) – often deviated from serious drama by producing original ‘intimate revues’, devised by Ronald Jeans (1887-1973). Exceptionally, one of these, Hullo, Repertory! satirised the company and the entire repertory movement. An opening scene lampooned a meeting of the board of directors, the first and probably only occasion when these proceedings have featured on stage. Other send-ups included the travesty ‘Miss A.B.C.D.E.F. Hornblower’ of the ‘Graveity’ Theatre, Manchester and the production toured to Birkenhead, Manchester and the capital, but was a failure at the London Coliseum. This London visit had followed a season at the Kingsway Theatre when the press took equally avid but more complimentary interest in the four-play repertoire. Nevertheless, the transfers could be considered a first example of repertory’s ongoing psychological dependence on London. At home, the board and theatregoers would note critics’ opinions and, if favourable, they would be exploited by a company. Any theatre that is struggling to survive would not easily ignore them, good or bad. Even with an inquisitive and encouraging local press, favourable national recognition has often helped to turn the tide, just as damning reviews might jeopardise an artistic director’s employment. Indubitably, consideration of the media is an important factor in the growth of the repertory movement. As with the theatre, London stood for media power but it also stood for the insularity and prejudice of that power. Newspapers had correspondents throughout the provinces and they reported on significant events, but their despatches filtered through London and London decided what the provinces should read. Northern England and Scotland were exceptions: the Manchester Guardian was always a national newspaper and employed a theatre critic for the North West whose reviews were read in a national edition. For repertory companies elsewhere, London critics judged them by London ‘standards’ and their arts editors have tended to ignore them. A repertory company would find it difficult to invert this situation, but by touring to London, a season might decrease its members’ sense of isolation from the excitements of the theatrical epicentre, helping management to attract talented artists and generally exposing the company to media and peer group rating. From then to now, few repertory companies have eschewed the London limelight on principle, a notable exception being the post-1969 leadership of the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow that, on the few occasions when their productions have transferred to or been revived in London, the company has not actively sought and exploited the customary institutional acknowledgement in publicity and advertising.
Liverpool Playhouse and the first general manager in repertory
Meanwhile, after 1917, the ‘Commonwealth’ at Liverpool Playhouse yielded, with good grace, to the pre-war structure of hegemonic board-domination. In the wake of the board’s serial-appointment and sacking of eleven artistic directors in only seven years – including Nigel Playfair (1874-1934) and, for three years, the first example of joint artistic direction with W. Bridges Adams (1889-1965) and his wife Muriel Pratt (1891-1945), all of who went on to run renowned companies – consonance followed with the appointment of the Scottish actor-director William Armstrong (1883-1952). He trained at Glasgow Repertory Theatre as an assistant stage manager and ran Liverpool from 1922 to 1940. During this time, the board, though kept informed on all matters of policy and money, developed greater confidence in the artistic director and in 1936, when they moved from fortnightly runs to three-weekly repertory after clearing the mortgage on the theatre freehold, they gave him more rather than less artistic licence.
In Armstrong’s first season, Maud Carpenter (1895–1977), who had joined the Playhouse as assistant manager in 1910 and was a member of the ‘Commonwealth’, became general manager. In 1945, she became the first woman to join the company’s board of directors. This is always an uncommon promotion for any manager or artistic director; later, the Companies Acts (as well as legislation by the Charity Commissioners) usually precluded board membership for employees in non-profit distributing companies. Although boards could not therefore compensate work done by members, her directorship (that was permitted when the company was limited by shares) demonstrates early recognition of the need for a theatre board and management to be on the same side as partners in their roles.
In 1962, when Carpenter retired after 51 years – 40 being spent as general manager – she was, and remains today, the longest serving administrator of any single theatre company. In the pantheon of twentieth-century lady theatre managers, her work has been overshadowed by critical attention to that of Annie Horniman and Lilian Baylis (who managed the Old Vic Theatre, London between 1898 and 1937, and transformed it, with the Sadler’s Wells, into a classical drama, opera and ballet theatre). But whereas Horniman (who was a patron and proprietor) and Baylis (who was a lessee then manager) may be described as entrepreneurs, Carpenter, because she was partnered with a succession of artistic directors, may technically be described as an intrapreneur. She helped the spirit of repertory to blossom as an employee, unobtrusively keeping the company entrepreneurial through bleak times, long after it ceased to be run by the entrepreneurial founders. Liverpool became the longest-lived repertory theatre in Britain, until its liquidation and temporary closure in 1998 although, for this paper, the effectiveness of the harmonious Carpenter-Armstrong partnership points to another linchpin of repertory organisation.
The Playhouse historian, Grace Wyndham Goldie, described Carpenter’s personality, position and accomplishment in the tone of a euphonious person specification:
A thousand miles from being temperamental, she resembles William Armstrong only in her devotion to the theatre. In spite of, or because of, their contrasted characters they work in the most remarkable accord. They have their own separate spheres. He is concerned with production and generally with everything behind the scenes. She is responsible to the magistrates for the building [as licensee] and for the conduct of the theatre; she looks after the keeping of the theatre’s books, entertainment tax returns, advertising, all purchases for the theatre, the contracts and salaries of the company, the engaging and payment of staff, all booking arrangements, furnishing redecoration and cleansing, and since in the Playhouse the bars and the right of selling tea and coffee, chocolates, ices and so on are not sub-let as they are so often in other theatres, she deals with the management of all these things. The routine work keeps her occupied during the day. In the evenings she is always in the theatre to see it opened and to see that everything is punctual and in good order… An inquisitive finger is always exploring for dust… Standards are high; discipline is strictly maintained…. The result is that every half penny of expenditure is carefully watched, everything is managed with economy and the Playhouse is filled with invaluable atmosphere. All this efficiency is the result of a combination of hard work, shrewdness and natural ability. But there is more to it than that. They spring from a devotion to the theatre and pride in the productions; so intense that criticism directed against the Playhouse is felt personally and the slightest mishap is a personal blow. Nothing is put before the interests of the theatre.
Significantly, Goldie implied that there was neither blurring of the definitions nor confusion of the duties of the manager and artistic director; because Carpenter – operating within territorial limits but sharing the motivation and enthusiasm of the board and artistic director – always remembered that she was there to support the work of the Playhouse. She enabled the artistic director and the creative team to entertain and communicate with the theatregoers; as a diplomatic spokesperson, she was valorised as the ‘Lady Mayoress of Liverpool’. Although the artistic and managerial sides of a repertory company are inextricably complementary, the relationship was more straightforward then, unmeshed in the paraphernalia of subsidy and arts administration. Power struggles and misunderstandings between artistic director and manager, which have so often contributed to making the organisation of repertory a cause of trouble elsewhere, were unknown in Liverpool. Thus, Goldie’s encomium might now be rendered as a courteous valediction for the demise of collaborative repertory management, for the disappearance of her generation of theatre managers may have a lot to do with other companies’ difficulties today.
This paper has discussed the genesis, broad achievements and managerial characteristics of Liverpool Playhouse. The first example of theatre ownership for a citizens’ theatre was demonstrated by the Liverpool Repertory’s mortgage-purchase of the Star Theatre. The building helped the company to be self-reliant through reunification of the two strands of theatre organisation: theatre control and play production. In this pre‑subsidy era, a key to its durability was resourceful management. This included cooperation between a board of volunteer directors, theatre managers and artists. Despite tensions between the first artistic director and the board, harmony was demonstrated in the marathon service of manager Maud Carpenter and the inspired teamwork with artistic director William Armstrong. However, external forces such as the effects of the First World War caused the company to be managed, temporarily but with good effect, as an artists’ co-operative. The ideals, principles and structures of Liverpool Playhouse as a progenitor repertory company have had a profound effect on the governance and management of other regional theatres, for almost a century.
Following liquidation of Liverpool Repertory Theatre Limited, a new management - Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust Limited - resurrected the Playhouse in combination with the Everyman Theatre, incorporated 8 July 1999.
FURTHER READING ON LIVERPOOL PLAYHOUSE AND MERSEYSIDE THEATRES, IN ADDITION TO CITATIONS:
Pelham McMahon and Pam Brooks, An Actor’s Place: The Liverpool Repertory Company at Liverpool Playhouse, 1911-1998, Liverpool, Bluecoat Press, 2000.
Ros Merkin, (comp.), Liverpool’s Third Cathedral: The Liverpool Everyman Theatre, in the words of those who were, and are, there, Liverpool, Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust Limited, 2004.
For an excellent electronic catalogue of the Everyman Theatre, its archive and associated developments, follow this link to the Arts and Humanities Data Service: http://ahds.ac.uk/ictguides/projects/project.jsp?projectId=152
For early history of Liverpool theatres, see R.J. Broadbent, Annals of the Liverpool Stage, Liverpool, Edward Howell, 1908.
This is a development of his essay, ‘The Theatres of Great Britain, No. 2: Liverpool’, Fred Dangerfield, (ed.), The Playgoer, London, Dawbarn & Ward, 1902, pp. 156-163.
For a gazetteer of nearly one hundred Liverpool theatres (from 1750 up to the Unity Theatre, 1980), see Harold Ackroyd, The Liverpool Stage, Erdington, Amber Valley Print Centre, 1996.
THEATRICAL LIVERPOOL, 1902
 John Drinkwater, ‘For the Twenty-first Anniversary of the Founding of The Liverpool Repertory Theatre, November 11th 1932’, The Playhouse, A Souvenir of the Twenty-First Birthday, Liverpool, Liverpool Repertory Theatre Ltd, 1932, p.3.
 Lionel Carson, (ed.), The Stage Guide, 1912, London, Carson & Comerford, 1912, pp. 219-221. As with theatres, the number of cinemas in these three cities was correspondingly fewer on Merseyside, despite Liverpool’s matching population. There were 22 cinemas on Merseyside, whereas Glasgow had 40 and Manchester had more than 70. At any rate, this suggests an uncommonly attractive market advantage for the new repertory entrant.
 Basil Dean, Seven Ages, An Autobiography 1888-1927, London, Hutchinson, 1970, pp. 76-77. George Rowell, The Repertory Movement, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1984, p. 41, quotes this profit as £1,600. Grace Wyndham Goldie, The Liverpool Repertory Theatre 1911-1934, London, Hodder & Stoughton, Liverpool, University Press, 1935, p.39, suggests the profit was £500, but in any event, the sum was an exceptional result, especially as Kelly’s Theatre was contracted on box-office share terms of 50-50, when the customary touring arrangements were 60-65 per cent in favour of the producing company.
 Figures quoted in Christopher Bullock, (ed.), Liverpool Playhouse, Diamond Jubilee 1911-1971, Liverpool, Liverpool Repertory Theatre Ltd., 1971, p.14.
 See programme facsimile for The Admirable Crichton, reproduced in Lord Cohen of Birkenhead, Basil Dean, Maud Carpenter, et al, Liverpool Playhouse, Golden Jubilee 1911-1961, Liverpool, Liverpool Repertory Theatre Limited, 1961, pp. 12-13. Notes to the audience invited them ‘to address any suggestions that they may care to make to Mr. Basil Dean at the theatre’. Another management innovation was an attempt to reduce the number and duration of intervals, so that ‘wherever possible there will be one long interval only, the rest of the acts divided by short pauses’. Stage management placed ‘blue electric light signals at either side of the proscenium [to] serve as an indication to the audience of the approach of the ‘long interval’, which will be of sufficient length to enable patrons to visit their friends in the foyer and other parts of the house’.
 Numbers counted from play lists in Grace Wyndham Goldie, The Liverpool Repertory Theatre, op.cit, pp. 226-270. Cecil Chisholm, Repertory, An Outline of the Modern Theatre Movement, London, Peter Davies, 1934, Appendix II, pp.248-249 lists their productions for 1932-1933 giving, in addition, the number of performances of each play, confirming varying runs of three weeks (ten productions) and two weeks (seven productions).
 Basil Dean, Seven Ages, An Autobiography 1888-1927, op.cit, pp. 89-90. He was only 23 when appointed to run the theatre, writing these observations with the advantage of immense experience at the age of 82.
 J.James Hewson, ‘The Liverpool Repertory Theatre’, The “Stage” Year Book, 1914, London, Carson & Comerford, 1914, p. 41.
 Tyrone Guthrie, My Life in the Theatre, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1959, p.46.
 Grace Wyndham Goldie, The Liverpool Repertory Theatre, op.cit, p. 85.
 Basil Dean, Seven Ages, An Autobiography 1888-1927, op.cit, p. 102.
 Lord Cohen of Birkenhead, Basil Dean, Maud Carpenter, et al, Liverpool Playhouse, Golden Jubilee, 1911-1961, op.cit, p.46.
 The founding chairman, Charles Reilly, recalled the episode in Scaffolding in the Sky, a semi-architectural autobiography, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 1938, pp.124.
 For a study of theatre management in Elizabethan repertories and the sharing system, see Bernard Beckerman, ‘Philip Henslowe’, in Joseph W. Donohue, Jr., The Theatrical Manager in England and America: Player of a Perilous Game, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1971, pp. 19-62.
 The plan and early operation of the cooperative management are described in Anon., A History of the Liverpool Repertory Theatre: Artistes’ and Staff’s Commonwealth, September 1914-April 1915, Liverpool, For the Commonwealth, 1915. The arrangement was that actors and staff had to subscribe £1 (£58) to a ‘Commonwealth’ fund; at the beginning of each season they rehearsed for no wages; they were promised £2 (£116) a week thereafter, instead of the previous wage of £7 (£400), but would receive amounts up to the full wage according to the success of a whole season. To an extent, the Liverpool ‘Commonwealth’ may be seen to anticipate the workings of contemporary theatre collectives from the 1960s, such as the proliferating small-theatre peripatetic company membership of the Independent Theatre Council. Other resident, large companies, with the exception of The Actors’ Company, have never attempted the principle of collective sharing of receipts and decision-making. The Actors’ Company was a touring repertory theatre formed by Sir Ian McKellan (1939- ) and others in 1970, organised without a board of directors but administered by an umbrella arrangement with Cambridge Theatre Company. This company was also a challenge to the belief that democratic processes must be discarded once the administrative problems become larger.
 Grace Wyndham Goldie, The Liverpool Repertory Theatre, op.cit, p.113.
 I attempted without success to locate this script in the Liverpool City Council archives and elsewhere, for its contents might offer more clues as to what they thought of their board of directors.
 The small 567-seat Kingsway Theatre gave welcome to several provincial repertory companies. It was run by the actress-manager Lena Ashwell (1872-1957), who took an avid interest in repertories, having run companies during the First World War for British servicemen in Paris, Le Havre, Rouen and Calais, including ensembles of Scottish actors who performed for the Scottish regiments. In addition to the Kingsway, her work was an early example of repertory in London suburbs, where she produced seasons in ‘found spaces’ such as the local authority owned swimming baths of Deptford, Ilford, Lewisham and Beckenham. Her ‘aim throughout [was] to create an interest in the representatives of the people in each borough, so that the method of cooperation between the arts and the community could be arrived at’. See Lena Ashwell, The Stage, London, Geoffrey Bles, 1929, pp.146 and 157-158. Ashwell was one of the first repertorists to work closely with local government; although they could not give direct grants, councillors reduced the hall rents and distributed advertising material with rate demand notices.
 Christopher Bullock, (ed.), Liverpool Playhouse, Diamond Jubilee 1911-1971, op.cit, p.13.
 See Richard Findlater, Lilian Baylis: The Lady of the Old Vic, London, Allen Lane, 1975, Elizabeth Schafer, Lilian Baylis: a biography, Hatfield, University of Hertfordshire Press and Society for Theatre Research, 2006, and Adrian Frazier, Behind the Scenes: Yeats, Horniman, and the Struggle for the Abbey Theatre, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990.
Tracy C. Davis researches records of lady managers. Her alphabetical data base of over 300 managers before the First World War reveals that the previous longest-serving were Sarah Baker, who owned seven theatres in Kent and managed their stock companies between c.1772 and 1815; Sarah Thorne, manager or lessee of theatres and stock companies in Margate, Worcester, Lambeth, Dover and Chatham for 29 years from 1866; and Eliza Vestris (25 years’ at three London theatres from 1830). See Tracy C. Davis, ‘Female Managers, Lessees, and Proprietors of the British Stage (to 1914)’, Nineteenth Century Theatre, London, Royal Holloway, University of London, Vol. 28 No.2, Winter 2000, pp. 115-144.
 Grace Wyndham Goldie, The Liverpool Repertory Theatre, op.cit, pp. 207-208.
 Pelham McMahon and Pam Brooks, An Actor’s Place: The Liverpool Repertory Company at Liverpool Playhouse, 1911-1998, Liverpool, Bluecoat Press, 2000, p.29.