Margaret Rawlings

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Portrait by Allan Warren

Margaret Rawlings (5 June 1906 – 19 May 1996) was a distinguished English stage actress, born in Osaka, Japan, daughter of the Rev George William Rawlings and his wife Lilian (Boddington). She died two weeks three days before her 90th birthday.

She was educated at Oxford High School and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She first married Gabriel Toyne (marriage dissolved) and then Sir Robert Barlow (knighted 1943) who pre-deceased her.

Her entries in Who’s Who in the Theatre record her private address as 10 Duke Street, Adelphi, London WC2 (1936), Flat 12, 72 Westbourne Terrace, London W2 (1939), then finally Rocketer Farm, Wendover, Buckinghamshire (from 1947 onwards).

She was a co-founder of Equity, serving as a Council member for 30 years and was twice appointed Vice President, in 1973–74 and 1975–76.

Theatre career[edit]

While still at Oxford Margaret Rawlings appeared at the Little Theatre with John Masefield's company. She made her professional debut in March 1927 with Charles Macdona's Bernard Shaw Repertory company (The Macdona Players) as Jennifer in The Doctor's Dilemma at Croydon, and subsequently also played in The Philanderer, Arms and the Man, You Never Can Tell and The Dark Lady of the Sonnets.

She made her London stage debut on 22 January 1928 with the Venturers company as Louise in Jordan at the Strand Theatre, then toured as Gwen in The Fanatics and as Jill in Chance Acquaintance.

In October 1928 at the Embassy Theatre she played Vivian Mason in The Seventh Guest and Moya in The Shadow, before touring with Maurice Colbourne and Barry Jones in Shaw repertory to Canada and the United States in 1929–30.

1930s[edit]

Roles included:

1940s[edit]

  • Verna Mountstephan in A House in the Square (Diana Morgan), St Martin's Theatre April 1940
  • Mrs Dearth in Dear Brutus (J M Barrie directed by John Gielgud, Globe Theatre January 1941
  • Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest (Wilde), Theatre Royal Haymarket April 1946
  • Titania in The Fairy Queen, Covent Garden December 1946
  • Vittoria Corombona in The White Devil (John Webster), Duchess Theatre March 1947
  • Marceline in The Unquiet Spirit (Jean-Jacques Bernard), Arts Theatre February 1949
  • Germaine in A Woman in Love (adapted and directed by Michael Redgrave), Embassy Theatre April 1949

1950s[edit]

  • The Countess in The Purple Fig Tree (George Ralli), Piccadilly Theatre February 1950
  • Lady Macbeth to the Macbeth of Alec Clunes, who also directed, Arts Theatre June 1950
  • Anna Sergievna in Spring at Marino (Constance Cox) directed by John Fernald, Arts Theatre February 1951
  • Zabrina in Tamburlaine the Great (Christopher Marlowe) co-starring with Donald Wolfit in the title role and directed by Tyrone Guthrie, Old Vic September 1951
  • Lysistrata in The Apple Cart (Bernard Shaw) co-starring with Noël Coward as King Magnus, directed by Michael Macowan, Theatre Royal Haymarket, May 1953
  • The Countess in The Dark is Light Enough (Christopher Fry directed by Peter Brook, touring Arts Theatre, Salisbury and Windsor 1955
  • Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Paulina in The Winter’s Tale (to Paul Rogers’ Falstaff and Leontes), Old Vic 1955-56 season
  • Title role in Phedre (Jean Racine), Theatre-in-the-Round November 1957 and tour

1960s[edit]

  • Title role in Sappho, Edinburgh Festival August 1961
  • Alex Bliss in Ask Me No More, Theatre Royal Windsor May 1962
  • Title role in Phedre (also translated) Arts Cambridge May 1963
  • Ella Rentheim in John Gabriel Borkmann (Ibsen), Duchess Theatre, December 1963
  • Jocasta in Oedipus the King, Nottingham Playhouse November 1964
  • Gertrude in Hamlet, Ludlow Festival July 1965
  • Usula Maria Torpe in Torpe’s Hotel, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford October 1965
  • Mrs Bridgenorth in Getting Married (Bernard Shaw) directed by Frank Dunlop, Strand Theatre April 1967
  • Carlotta in A Song at Twilight (Noël Coward) ? 1968

1970s[edit]

Films and television[edit]

Margaret Rawlings’ film appearances included:

  • Roman Holiday 1953
  • Beautiful Stranger 1954
  • No Road Back 1956
  • Hands of the Ripper 1971
  • Follow Me! 1971

Television included The Somerset Maugham Hour, The Plane-Makers, Wives and Daughters. Margaret Rawlings also broadcast in innumerable radio programmes and recorded drama, poetry and prose.

References[edit]

  • Who’s Who in the Theatre, 8th to 17th edition (1933 to 1981)

External links[edit]