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Wolfit Endowment Fund

About the Fund

The Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell
Mr Desmond Barritt     Mr Richard Digby Day

Mr Adam Woolfit     Mr John Tallents    Miss Joanna Parlby
Sir Ronald Harwood

Malcom Ellison FCA (Hon Treasurer)
Carolyn Drury     Lucy Kitchen    

David Nightingale     Robin Bowerman
Beryl Rimmer     Kathryn Fox
Sara Gilbert     Sheila Mumby     Tina Paris

Carol Wilkinson (Hon Secretary)

The Wolfit Endowment Fund was founded and registered as a charity (No. 1065634) in 1997. The Fund was established to assist students of drama, both financially and in-kind, using the income from its invested capital.


The Trustees will consider applications for a grant of £1000 to individual drama/musical theatre students, over 17 years of age, who are resident in Newark or Balderton, or who have attended a school in Newark or Balderton.  Trustees prefer to give grants to students who are in the final year of their course but this should not deter students from applying earlier.  


Helping drama students to realise their ambitions in this way is a fitting memory to one of the greatest stage actors of the twentieth century, Sir Donald Wolfit C.B.E. The Fund maintains the link between Wolfit and his home town of Newark (and its neighbouring village Balderton, where he was born) by supporting students who either live, or went to school, in this area. Young people considering a future in acting can thus draw inspiration from the life and career of this, their town's most famous actor-son.


In addition to its grant-giving role, the Fund works to support acting and the theatre in the local area through a programme of events. The highlight of these is the Annual Wolfit Drama Festival, and details of this can be found by clicking on "Current Events".


The Fund also exists to celebrate and further our understanding of Wolfit, whose role as the last of the great actor-managers is a subject especially important to the history of theatre. Anyone who wishes to find out more about Wolfit is very welcome to contact the Fund.


The following are recommended by the Fund as sources of further information about Wolfit:


  • The best published source on Wolfit is the biography, by Ronald Harwood, C.B.E., entitled Sir Donald Wolfit - his life and work in the unfashionable theatre. It was first published in 1971 by Secker & Warburg, London. Its ISBN number is 0 436 19121 0. Copies are available from Newark Library and Nottingham Central Library, either locally or through inter-library loans.

    (see Nottinghamshire County Council's Library Service and click on Newark or Central, Nottingham. A search can be made as to the current availability of copies.)
  • Wolfit's autobiography is entitled First Interval, and was first published in 1954 by Odhams Press Limited, London. Its ISBN number is X 000 547751. It is available at Newark Library and Nottingham Central Library as above. 
  • The Wolfit papers, which include performance related materials, correspondance, literary works and personal papers, are held at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin. These were purchased from the Wolfit family in 1991. The Harry Ransom Center's web site provides a detailed overview of these papers, as well as a biographical sketch.
  • Further material, given by Ronald Harwood, is held at the Theatre Museum, London (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum), and comprises 23 scrapbooks of programmes, cuttings and the like, maintained by Wolfit between 1921 to 1967, and given to Ronald Harwood after his death.