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Sir Donald Arthur Rolleston Albery (19 June 1914, London, England[1] – 14 September 1988) was an English theatre impresario,[2] who did much to translate the adventurous spirit of London in the 1960s into theatrical reality.

Donald Arthur Rolleston Albery
Born19 June 1914
Died14 September 1988(1988-09-14) (aged 74)
Spouse(s)Nobuko Uenishi Morris
ChildrenTim Albery
RelativesSir Bronson James Albery (father)


Born into a theatrical family, his father was director Sir Bronson James Albery,[2] his first job was struggling to manage Sadler's Wells Ballet during the air raids of World War II.[2] Perhaps such an experience formed a modernist sensibility and when he launched his own Donmar company in 1953 he championed plays by Graham Greene, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Jean Anouilh, and an adaptation by J.B. Priestley of an Iris Murdoch novel.

Though always commercially minded, his spirit of adventure endured with the first London production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and sponsorship of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop. In 1961, Albery, in collaboration with William Donaldson, produced Beyond the Fringe in London and, in 1962, in New York.[2]

From 1964 to 1968, Albery served as director and administrator of the London Festival Ballet.[1]

Albery was knighted in 1977 for his services to the theatre.[2]

In 1982, Albery added his archive to the British theatre holdings of the Harry Ransom Center. Records include correspondence, legal and financial documents, scripts, sound recordings, prompt books, manuscript and printed music scores and parts, and printed and publicity materials such as clippings, programmes, playbills, posters, proofs and tickets concerning the theatrical productions and business affairs of Wyndham's Theatres Ltd., The Piccadilly Theatre Ltd., Sadler's Wells Theatre, the Royal Ballet, and the touring productions of the Festival Ballet.[3]

He was married to Nobuko Uenishi Morris, former wife of author Ivan Morris.


  1. ^ a b Ian Herbert, ed. (1981). "ALBERY, Sir Donald". Who's Who in the Theatre. 1. Gale Research Company. p. 7. ISSN 0083-9833.
  2. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 11/2. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  3. ^ "Collection Descriptions". Retrieved 10 January 2019.