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|Born||23 October 1902|
Tockington, United Kingdom
|Died||16 January 1999 (aged 96)|
Cambridge, United Kingdom
|Education||Eton College, King's College, Cambridge|
Rylands was born at the Down House, Tockington, Gloucestershire, to Thomas Kirkland Rylands, a land agent, and Bertha Nisbet Wolferstan (née Thomas). His grandfather was the Liberal politician Peter Rylands. Educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge, he was a Fellow of King's from 1927 until his death. While at Cambridge, he became a friend of John Maynard Keynes, also a student and Fellow at King’s.
As well as studying Shakespeare, he was actively involved in the theatre. He directed and acted in many productions for The Marlowe Society, and was chairman of the Cambridge Arts Theatre from 1946 to 1982.
Rylands' 1939 Shakespeare anthology Ages of Man was the basis of John Gielgud's one-man show of the same title. Though Rylands specialised in directing university productions at Cambridge, he also directed Gielgud in professional productions of The Duchess of Malfi and Hamlet in London in 1945.