A 1910 view of Pelham Crescent

A 1910 view of Pelham Crescent


Sir Nigel Ross Playfair

Dates: 1874 - 1934

Profession: Performing Arts

Address: 26 Pelham Crescent, SW7

Dates at address: 1910 - 1922

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Born in London, Playfair graduated from Oxford in 1896. Here he performed for the Oxford University Dramatic Society and later joined the famous London amateur societies, the Old Stagers and the Windsor Strollers. In 1905 he married Annie Platts, also known as actress May Martyn. They had three sons.

He went professional as an actor in 1902 as Mr Melrose in A Pair of Knickerbockers, performing as an able character actor until 1918. This was followed by his “discovery” of Lyric Hall, the run down cinema in Hammersmith known by regulars as the “Blood and Flea Pit”. This was transformed with help from partners Arnold Bennett and Alistair Tayler into the Lyric Theatre, opening with AA Milne’s Make Believe. Playfair went on to produce many comedies and satires, including The Beggar’s Opera, The Duenna and The Importance of Being Earnest featuring John Gielgud. He appeared in many of these alongside his troupe of young promising actors and musicians. After relinquishing control of the theatre in 1932 he appeared in films, wrote plays and published two histories of the Lyric.

Pelham Crescent was the Playfairs’ home during the later years of his acting career and the start of his time as manager of the Lyceum.

Related records:

Blue PlaqueEnoch Arnold Bennett – Literature 

Blue PlaqueAlan Alexander Milne – Literature