The work of Margaret Macnamara first became of significance in 1908, when her play The Gates of the Morning was performed by the Incorporated Stage Society at the Shaftesbury Theatre, with the backing of George Bernard Shaw. Throughout her career she wrote a number of plays which were most popular with amateur groups, such as schools, youth groups. Indeed, some of her plays written during the 1920’s were done in conjunction with Henfield Women’s Institute and their drama group, the Tip-teerers.
In 1921 she became a member of the Community Theatre Committee of British Drama League and in 1926 became its Secretary. In the early 1930’s she became Honorary Research Secretary for the London Old Vic, supporting the work of Tyrone Guthrie – attending rehearsals, advising on textual obscurities and writing programme notes, whilst he was Director. On her death her personal papers were passed to her niece, Sylvia Legge. The collection contains her published and her unpublished plays, including source material for her work, including detailed research for her play Florence Nightingale. There are some production photographs and press reviews, and there is an interesting collection of correspondence from people including Tyrone Guthrie, George Bernard Shaw, Harley Granville-Barker, Laurence Housmann, J Fisher White, John Galsworthy, Edward Gordon Craig, Helen Hayes and Flora Robson.
TITLE & ORIGINAL PUBLISHER DATE (IF KNOWN)
1. The Baby in the Ring, ? 1918
2. By The Wayside, Joseph Williams Ltd 1924
3. Elizabeth Refuses, Joseph Williams Ltd 1926
4. Enjoying the Business, Joseph Williams Ltd 1920 ?
5. Goodwill, Evans Brothers 1920s ?
6. Hat and Stick, Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd 1949
7. Her Dog, ? ?
8. I Have Five Daughters, Samuel French Ltd 1936
9. In Safety, Joseph Williams Ltd 1924
10. Light Gray or Dark, C W Daniel CO Ltd 1920
11. A Little Nativity Play, ? ?
12. Love Fibs, C W Daniel Co Ltd c1920
13. A Masque of Fashion, Joseph Williams Ltd 1926
14. The Miss Dodsons That Were, Joseph Williams Ltd 1947
15. Mrs Hodges, C W Daniel Co Ltd ?
16. Mrs Jupp Obliges, Labour Publishing Co ?
17. Our Little Fancies, ? ?
18. A Penny For The Guy, Basil Blackwell & Mott Ltd 1928
19. Saint George and the Turkish Knight, ? ?
20. Smart, ? ?
21. The Tall, Tall Castle, Joseph Williams Ltd 1927
22. What Do You Think?, Joseph Williams Ltd 1921
23. The Witch, C W Daniel Co Ltd ?
24. Wives and Daughters, Samuel French Ltd 1943
25. A Women’s Institute Charade, Joseph Williams Ltd ?
26. Yesterday, Ernest Benn Ltd 1926