Vivyan Ellacott

Vivyan Ellacott, courtesy Ilford Recorder
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Interview Date(s): 
30 Mar 1995
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Interview notes


[Transcribed from Manny Yospa’s handwritten note]

Farmers, Gower, Swansea; School play, Henry V. Mother: Dorothy Davies, Hollywood actress. Father had company. Grocer’s shop. Swansea Empire 1954. Under Milk Wood. 12 years old. Wyndham’s. Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much. Repertory Theatre. Assistant Stage Manager. John Chilvers. Swansea Grand. ASM/Performer BBC Radio, Welsh Home Service, TWW. Youth company, Swansea Youth Theatre. Mannheim etc., Asst. Manager. Swansea 1966, closure 1969. Council bought it. Manager, Wimbledon Theatre. Council reopened. Heidelberg, 1970. Kenneth More Theatre [Ilford] opened Dec 31 1974.


Starting at the age of 8 in the Swansea Empire pantomime, Vivyan went on to perform juvenile roles in radio and TV for BBC Wales.  As an adult, to pay his way through University, he worked backstage at the Royal Opera House and as  “jack-of-all-trades” at several London fringe venues.

He then toured the UK and Germany in various productions before being appointed Theatre Manager at Wimbledon Theatre.  After one year he returned to Wales, working for Welsh National Opera and then as Theatre Manager at the Swansea Grand Theatre.

After seven years at Swansea, acting, directing and managing, he was appointed Manager of the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford, where he remained for 37 years, directing several hundred plays, musicals, operas and 35 pantomimes.

During his years at the KMT his freelance work included directing UK tours of “Hair”, “Godspell” and the long-running 1980s UK, European and Israeli tour of “The Rocky Horror Show”.  He also directed a series of opera and musical productions in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania.

He served 8 years on the Theatres Advisory Council, 12 years as Chairman of the Commercial Theatre Managers Association of Great Britain, and 30 years as Trustee of the UK Theatre Council.  His work for local arts and East London charities led to his being made an Honorary Freeman of the London Borough of Redbridge in 2002