Roger Frith Collection

Roger Frith was a playwright and poet , he died aged 71 in about 2007-2008. He was born in Wanstead, Essex, to two professional singers. He was evacuated during the war, he went to Hallaton primary school, Leicestershire, and on a scholarship to Mid-Essex technical school, Chelmsford. He spent four years in the navy after joining as a boy seaman.

Later, he won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama, where he met his friend of many years standing, the actor Anna Cropper. He went on to two seasons with the Old Vic Company, and the West End shows Maggie May and Man of Magic. Arnold Wesker's play Friends followed at the Roundhouse, Camden Town, in 1970.

Roger was encouraged to write by Wesker, and his first stage play, A Song in the Night, based on the poet John Clare's life, toured the UK in 1989; at the Lyric, Hammersmith, it won rave reviews and was revived twice. His one-man play, The Incomparable Max, was performed at the 1995 Cheltenham literary festival with the son of Max Beerbohm's biographer, the actor Jonathan Cecil, as Max. Do Not Forget Me Quite, a portrait of the poet and composer Ivor Gurney, was performed at the Hay-on-Wye festival in 1995, with Roger as Gurney. From 1971 he broadcast frequently on Radio 4. The last of his eight volumes of pastoral poetry appeared in 2005.

(Taken from an obituary written by Mary Hawkins, The Guardian, Friday 22 February 2008)

More information

  • The collection has not yet been catalogued fully, but a temporary handlist is available to download as a pdf here (504 KB)
  • A collection level description is available on our online database
  • Manuscript number MS 5367
literature literary manuscripts Frith

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