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Documenting the quest to track down everything written by (and written about) the poet, translator, critic, and radio dramatist, Henry Reed.

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I Capture the Castle: A girl and her family struggle to make ends meet in an old English castle.
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«  The Miser in the Church House  »

Reeding Lessons: the Henry Reed research blog

26.9.2017


The Miser in the Church House

In 1933, a small theatre group in Birmingham, England, staged a production of Molière's L'Avare (The Miser) at the Church House, High Street, Erdington (pictured here). The company called themselves after the name of the house where they rehearsed: The Highbury Players. They had begun in 1924 as an artistic branch of the local Independent Labour Party, originally meeting to read stage plays aloud, but eventually forming the Highbury Little Theatre.

Highbury Little Theatre

An excerpt from the book Highbury Little Theatre: A Beginning, written in 1946, describes the early efforts of the organization after their first play in 1925:

In the next twelve years the work undertaken included the following full length plays: Conflict, Much Ado about Nothing, Pygmalion, Heartbreak House, The Show, The Roof, Escape, The Skin Game, A Hundred Years Old, Pleasure Garden, Othello, The Circle of Chalk, The Sleeping Clergyman, and L'Avare in a new English translation by John English and Henry Reed—this was in 1932.

Mr. John English, OBE, one of the original members of the group, would go on to become a trustee of the Highbury Theatre Centre, and would help found the Midland Arts Centre.

There can be little doubt that the Highbury Players' co-translator of Molière's L'Avare was our Henry: the odds of coincidence are just too great. Henry Reed was born and raised in Erdington, was a vocal Socialist, and concentrated on French (and Latin) throughout his education, from King Edward VI Grammar School, all the way through his years at the University at Birmingham, which happen to coincide with the play's production.


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What is Henry Reed's first name?

1513. Hodge, Alan. "Thunder on the Right." Tribune (London), 14 June 1946, 15.
Hodge finds 'dry charm as well as quiet wit' in "Judging Distances," but overall feels Reed is 'diffuse and not sufficiently accomplished.'



1st lesson:

Reed, Henry (1914-1986). Born: Birmingham, England, 22 February 1914; died: London, 8 December 1986.

Education: MA, University of Birmingham, 1936. Served: RAOC, 1941-42; Foreign Office, Bletchley Park, 1942-1945. Freelance writer: BBC Features Department, 1945-1980.

Author of: A Map of Verona: Poems (1946)
The Novel Since 1939 (1946)
Moby Dick: A Play for Radio from Herman Melville's Novel (1947)
Lessons of the War (1970)
Hilda Tablet and Others: Four Pieces for Radio (1971)
The Streets of Pompeii and Other Plays for Radio (1971)
Collected Poems (1991, 2007)
The Auction Sale (2006)


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