Orford is a village with historic town status in Suffolk, within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. Like many Suffolk coastal towns it was of some importance as a port and fishing village in the Middle Ages, it still has a fine mediaeval castle, built to dominate the River Ore and a Grade I listed parish church, St Bartholomew's. The main geographical feature of the area is Orford Ness, a long, wide shingle spit at the mouth of the Ore. Orford Ness has in the past been used as an airstrip testing facility and in the early 1970s it was the site of a powerful radar station as part of the Cold War defences against low-flying attacking aircraft. Orford provides the only point of access to the nature reserves of Havergate Island. Both sites can only be accessed via ferry boat from Orford quay; the Orford Ness ferry runs on selected days between April and October and the Havergate Island ferry on selected Saturdays. The population of Orford increases during the summer months due to its flourishing sailing club.
As well as the Castle, Orford's attractions include river cruises, three pubs, a renowned traditional bakery, a smokehouse and a restaurant. Orford forms part of the electoral ward called Tunstall; the population of this ward at the 2011 census was 1,830. Orford, Suffolk Photographs and more details about Orford A Fishy Tale of Orford The Wild Man of Orford - An animated version of the 12th Century myth "My Orford" by Charlie Underwood M. B. E. - An interesting insight into village life in Orford
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time; the Bach family counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After becoming an orphan at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph Bach, after which he continued his musical development in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar—where he expanded his repertoire for the organ—and Köthen—where he was engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, he composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum.
From 1726 he published some of his organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened in some of his earlier positions, he had a difficult relation with his employer, a situation, little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by King Augustus III of Poland in 1736. In the last decades of his life he extended many of his earlier compositions, he died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65. Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint and motivic organisation, his adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include hundreds of both sacred and secular, he composed Latin church music, Passions and motets. He adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs, he wrote extensively for other keyboard instruments. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra.
Many of his works employ the genres of fugue. Throughout the 18th century Bach was renowned as an organist, while his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was appreciated for its didactic qualities; the 19th century saw the publication of some major Bach biographies, by the end of that century all of his known music had been printed. Dissemination of scholarship on the composer continued through periodicals and websites devoted to him, other publications such as the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis and new critical editions of his compositions, his music was further popularised through a multitude of arrangements, including for instance the Air on the G String, of recordings, for instance three different box sets with complete performances of the composer's works marking the 250th anniversary of his death. Bach was born in the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, into a great musical family, his father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was the director of the town musicians, all of his uncles were professional musicians.
His father taught him to play the violin and harpsichord, his brother Johann Christoph Bach taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much contemporary music. At his own initiative, Bach attended St. Michael's School in Lüneburg for two years. After graduating he held several musical posts across Germany: he served as Kapellmeister to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, a position of music director at the main Lutheran churches and educator at the Thomasschule, he received the title of "Royal Court Composer" from Augustus III in 1736. Bach's health and vision declined in 1749, he died on 28 July 1750. Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, the capital of the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, in present-day Germany, on 21 March 1685 O. S.. He was the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, the director of the town musicians, Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt, he was the eighth and youngest child of Johann Ambrosius, who taught him violin and basic music theory. His uncles were all professional musicians, whose posts included church organists, court chamber musicians, composers.
One uncle, Johann Christoph Bach, introduced him to the organ, an older second cousin, Johann Ludwig Bach, was a well-known composer and violinist. Bach's mother died in 1694, his father died eight months later; the 10-year-old Bach moved in with his eldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach, the organist at St. Michael's Church in Ohrdruf, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. There he studied and copied music, including his own brother's, despite being forbidden to do so because scores were so valuable and private, blank ledger paper of that type was costly, he received valuable teaching from his brother. J. C. Bach exposed him to the works of great composers of the day, including South German composers such as Johann Pachelbel and Johann Jakob Froberger. During this time, he was taught theology, Greek and Italian at the local gymnasium. By 3 April 1700, Bach and his schoolfriend Georg Erdmann—who was two years Bach's elder—were enrolled in the prestigious St. Michael's School in Lüneburg, some two weeks' travel north of Ohrdruf
Aldeburgh is an English town on the North Sea coast in the county of Suffolk, to the north of the River Alde. It was home to the composer Benjamin Britten and has been the centre of the international Aldeburgh Festival of arts at nearby Snape Maltings, founded by Britten in 1948, it remains an arts and literary centre, with an annual Poetry Festival and several food festivals and other events. As a Tudor port, Aldeburgh was granted borough status in 1529 by Henry VIII, its historic buildings include a Napoleonic-era Martello Tower. Second homes make up about a third of its housing. Visitors are drawn to its Blue Flag shingle beach and fisherman huts, where fresh fish are sold daily, by Aldeburgh Yacht Club, by its cultural offerings. Two family-run fish and chip shops are cited as being among the best in the country. Alde Burgh means "old fort" although this structure, along with much of the Tudor town, has now been lost to the sea. In the 16th century, Aldeburgh was a leading port, had a flourishing ship-building industry.
The flagship of the Virginia Company, the Sea Venture is believed to have been built here in 1608. Aldeburgh's importance as a port declined as the River Alde silted up and larger ships could no longer berth, it survived on fishing until the 19th century, when it became a seaside resort. Much of its distinctive and whimsical architecture derives from that period; the river is now home to a sailing club. Aldeburgh is on the North Sea coast, about 87 miles north-east of London, 20 mi north-east of Ipswich and 23 mi south of Lowestoft. Locally it is 4 mi south of 2 mi south of the village of Thorpeness, it lies just north of the River Alde, with the narrow shingle spit of Orford Ness all that stops the river meeting the sea at Aldeburgh – instead it flows another 9 mi to the south-west. The beach is shingle and wide in places, allowing fishing boats to draw up onto the beach above the high tide, but it narrows at the neck of Orford Ness; the shingle bank allows access to the Ness from the north, passing a Martello tower and two yacht clubs at the site of the former village of Slaughden.
Aldeburgh was flooded during the North Sea flood of 1953 and its flood defences were strengthened. The beach received a Blue flag rural beach award in 2005; the town is within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and nature reserves in its local area. The Alde-Ore Estuary SSSI covers the area surrounding the river from Snape to its mouth, including the whole of Orford Ness; this contains a number of salt mudflat habitats. The Leiston-Aldeburgh SSSI extends from the northern edge of the town to cover a range of habitats including grazing marsh and heathland, it includes Thorpeness Mere and the North Warren RSPB reserve, an area of wildlife and habitat conservation, nature trails run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Two smaller geological SSSI units lie on the southern edges. Aldeburgh Brick Pit, of 0.84-hectare, shows a clear stratigraphy of Red Crag deposits above Corralline Crag. Aldeburgh Hall Pit is a shallow pit 0.8 ha in area, featuring a section of Corralline Crag.
It is seen as one of the best sites in Britain for Neogene fauna. The town's churches include the pre-Reformation Anglican parish church of St Peter and St Paul and the Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Peter. Aldeburgh lies within the East Suffolk non-metropolitan district. Aldeburgh ward, which includes Thorpeness and other communities, had a population of 3225 in the 2011 census, when the mean age of the inhabitants was 55 and the median age 61, it is within the Suffolk Coastal parliamentary constituency represented by Therese Coffey, having had John Gummer for a member from 1983 to 2010. This is seen as a safe seat for the Conservatives. Aldeburgh was a Parliamentary Borough from 1571, returned two Members of Parliament, the right to vote being vested in the town's freemen. By the mid-18th century it was considered a rotten borough, as the votes were under the control of a City of London merchant, Thomas Fonnereau: and memorably described it as "a venal little borough in Suffolk", it lost its representation under the Great Reform Act of 1832.
In 1908 Aldeburgh became the first British town to elect a female mayor: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, whose father, Newson Garrett, had been mayor in 1889. In 2006, Sam Wright became Aldeburgh's town crier and mace bearer at 15, so the youngest in the world. Aldeburgh is linked to the main A12 by the A1094 road; the B1122 leads to Leiston. There are bus services to Leiston, southward to Woodbridge and Ipswich, northward to Halesworth; the nearest railway station is at Saxmundham on the East Suffolk Line. This provides hourly services to Lowestoft. Aldeburgh railway station opened in 1860 as the terminus of the Aldeburgh Branch Line from Saxmundham, but was closed in 1966 under the Beeching Axe; the RNLI station in the town was operating two lifeboats in 2016. The Aldeburgh Moot Hall is a Grade I listed timber-framed building, used for council meetings for over 400 years; the Town Clerk's office remains there and it houses the local museum. It was built in about 1520 and altered in 1654; the brick and stone infilling of the ground floor is later.
The hall was restored and the external staircase and gable ends were rebuilt in 1854–1855 under the direction of R. M. Phipson, chief architect of the Diocese of Norwich, in which Aldeburgh stood. There are monuments in the town. A unique quatrefoil Martello Tower stands at the isthmus leading to the Orford N
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was educated at home, her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; when her father died in February 1952, she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon. She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, the decolonisation of Africa. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa and Ceylon, became republics.
Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five popes. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012 respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee, she is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world's longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state, the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch and the longest-serving current head of state. Elizabeth has faced republican sentiments and press criticism of the royal family, in particular after the breakdown of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992 and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales. However, support for the monarchy has been and remains high, as does her personal popularity. Elizabeth was born at 02:40 on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V.
Her father, the Duke of York, was the second son of the King. Her mother, the Duchess of York, was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, she was delivered by Caesarean section at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. She was baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May, named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, Mary after her paternal grandmother. Called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first, she was cherished by her grandfather George V, during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery. Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930; the two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford.
Lessons concentrated on history, language and music. Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses in 1950, much to the dismay of the royal family; the book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, her attitude of responsibility. Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character, she has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved". During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as Edward was still young. Many people believed he would have children of his own; when her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father.
That year, Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis. Elizabeth's father became king, she became heir presumptive. If her parents had had a son, she would have lost her position as first-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession. Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College, learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses. A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed so she could socialise with girls her own age, she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger. In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured the United States; as in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours. Elizabeth "looked tearful", they corresponded and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on 18 May.
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War. Lord Hailsham suggested that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada to avoid the frequent aerial bombing; this was rejected by Elizabeth's mother. I won't leave wit
Suffolk is an East Anglian county of historic origin in England. It has borders with Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south; the North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich; the county is low-lying with few hills, is arable land with the wetlands of the Broads in the north. The Suffolk Coast and Heaths are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. By the fifth century, the Angles had established control of the region; the Angles became the "north folk" and the "south folk", from which developed the names "Norfolk" and "Suffolk". Suffolk and several adjacent areas became the kingdom of East Anglia, which merged with Mercia and Wessex. Suffolk was divided into four separate Quarter Sessions divisions. In 1860, the number of divisions was reduced to two; the eastern division was administered from the western from Bury St Edmunds. Under the Local Government Act 1888, the two divisions were made the separate administrative counties of East Suffolk and West Suffolk. A few Essex parishes were added to Suffolk: Ballingdon-with-Brundon and parts of Haverhill and Kedington.
On 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, East Suffolk, West Suffolk, Ipswich were merged to form the unified county of Suffolk. The county was divided into several local government districts: Babergh, Forest Heath, Mid Suffolk, St Edmundsbury, Suffolk Coastal, Waveney; this act transferred some land near Great Yarmouth to Norfolk. As introduced in Parliament, the Local Government Act would have transferred Newmarket and Haverhill to Cambridgeshire and Colchester from Essex. In 2007, the Department for Communities and Local Government referred Ipswich Borough Council's bid to become a new unitary authority to the Boundary Committee; the Boundary Committee reported in favour of the proposal. It was not, approved by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Beginning in February 2008, the Boundary Committee again reviewed local government in the county, with two possible options emerging. One was that of splitting Suffolk into two unitary authorities – Ipswich and Felixstowe and Rural Suffolk.
In February 2010, the then-Minister Rosie Winterton announced that no changes would be imposed on the structure of local government in the county as a result of the review, but that the government would be: "asking Suffolk councils and MPs to reach a consensus on what unitary solution they want through a countywide constitutional convention". Following the May 2010 general election, all further moves towards any of the suggested unitary solutions ceased on the instructions of the incoming Coalition government. In 2018 it was determined that Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury would be merged to form a new West Suffolk district, while Waveney and Suffolk Coastal would form a new East Suffolk district; these changes took effect on 1 April 2019. West Suffolk, like nearby East Cambridgeshire, is renowned for archaeological finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age. Bronze Age artefacts have been found in the area between Mildenhall and West Row, in Eriswell and in Lakenheath. Many bronze objects, such as swords, arrows, palstaves, daggers, armour, decorative equipment, fragments of sheet bronze, are entrusted to St. Edmundsbury heritage service, housed at West Stow just outside Bury St. Edmunds.
Other finds include traces of barrows. In the east of the county is Sutton Hoo, the site of one of England's most significant Anglo-Saxon archaeological finds, a ship burial containing a collection of treasures including a Sword of State and silver bowls, jewellery and a lyre; the majority of agriculture in Suffolk is either mixed. Farm sizes vary from anything around 80 acres to over 8,000. Soil types vary from heavy clays to light sands. Crops grown include:winter wheat, winter barley, sugar beet, oilseed rape and spring beans and linseed, although smaller areas of rye and oats can be found growing in areas with lighter soils along with a variety of vegetables; the continuing importance of agriculture in the county is reflected in the Suffolk Show, held annually in May at Ipswich. Although latterly somewhat changed in nature, this remains an agricultural show. Below is a chart of regional gross value added of Suffolk at current basic prices published by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Well-known companies in Suffolk include Greene Branston Pickle in Bury St Edmunds. Birds Eye has its largest UK factory in Lowestoft, where all its meat products and frozen vegetables are processed. Huntley & Palmers biscuit company has a base in Sudbury; the UK horse racing industry is based in Newmarket. There are two USAF bases in the west of the county close to the A11. Sizewell B nuclear power station is at Sizewell on the coast near Leiston. Bernard Matthews Farms have some processing units in the county Holton. Southwold is the home of Adnams Brewery; the Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the United Kingdom. Other ports are at Ipswich, run by Associated British Ports. BT has its main development facility at Martlesham Heath. There are several towns in the county with Ipswich being most populous. At the time
Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern was in the core of those in the circle of the Second Viennese School, including Ernst Krenek and Theodor W. Adorno; as an exponent of atonality and twelve-tone technique, Webern exerted influence on contemporaries Luigi Dallapiccola, Křenek, Schoenberg himself. As a tutor, Webern guided and variously influenced Arnold Elston, Frederick Dorian, Matty Niël, Fré Focke, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Philipp Herschkowitz, René Leibowitz, Humphrey Searle, Leopold Spinner, Stefan Wolpe. Webern's music was among the most radical of its milieu, both in its concision and in its rigorous and resolute apprehension of twelve-tone technique, his innovations in schematic organization of pitch, register, dynamics and melodic contour. In the United States, his music attracted the interest of Elliott Carter, whose critical ambivalence was marked by a certain enthusiasm nonetheless.
During and shortly after the post-war period Webern was posthumously received with attention first diverted from his sociocultural upbringing and surroundings and, focused in a direction antithetical to his participation in German Romanticism and Expressionism. A richer understanding of Webern began to emerge in the half of the 20th century, notably in the work of scholars Kathryn Bailey, Julian Johnson, Felix Meyer, Anne Schreffler, as archivists and biographers gained access to sketches, lectures, audio recordings, other articles of or associated with Webern's estate. Webern was born in Vienna Austria-Hungary, as Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern, he was the only surviving son of Carl von Webern, a civil servant, Amelie, a competent pianist and accomplished singer—possibly the only obvious source of the future composer's talent. He never used his middle names and dropped the "von" in 1918 as directed by the Austrian government's reforms after World War I, he lived in Klagenfurt for much of his youth.
But his distinct and lasting sense of Heimat was shaped by readings of Peter Rosegger. Webern memorialized the Preglhof in a diary poem "An der Preglhof" and in the tone poem Im Sommerwind, both after Bruno Wille's idyll. Once Webern's father sold the estate in 1912, Webern referred to it nostalgically as a "lost paradise", he continued to revisit the Preglhof, the family cemetery in Schwabegg, the surrounding landscape for the rest of his life. Art historian Ernst Dietz, Webern's cousin and at that time a student at Graz, may have introduced Webern to the work of the painters Arnold Böcklin and Giovanni Segantini, whom Webern came to admire. Segantini's work was a inspiration for Webern's 1905 single-movement string quartet. In 1902, Webern began attending classes at Vienna University. There he studied musicology with Guido Adler, writing his thesis on the Choralis Constantinus of Heinrich Isaac; this interest in early music would influence his compositional technique in years in terms of his use of palindromic form on both the micro- and macro-scale and the economical use of musical materials.
After graduating, Webern took a series of conducting posts at theatres in Ischl, Danzig and Prague before moving back to Vienna. As might be expected, the young Webern was enthusiastic about the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf, Richard Wagner, visiting Bayreuth in 1902, he enjoyed the music of Hector Berlioz and Georges Bizet. In 1904, he stormed out of a meeting with Hans Pfitzner, from whom he was seeking instruction, when the latter criticized Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. In 1908, Webern wrote rapturously to Schoenberg about Claude Debussy's opera Mélisande, he conducted some of Debussy's music in 1911. It may have been at Guido Adler's advice. Webern progressed under Schoenberg's tutelage, publishing his Passacaglia, op. 1 as his graduation piece in 1908. He met Berg another of Schoenberg's pupils; these two relationships would be the most important in his life in shaping his own musical direction. Some of Webern's earlier thoughts are as amusing as they might be surprising: besides describing some of Alexander Scriabin's music as "languishing junk," he wrote of Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 4 that it was "boring," that Carl Maria von Weber's Konzertstück in F minor was passé, that he found Johannes Brah
Dame Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft, known professionally as Peggy Ashcroft, was an English actress whose career spanned more than sixty years, who, along with contemporaries John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson, dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. Born to a comfortable middle-class family, Ashcroft was determined from an early age to become an actress, despite parental opposition, she was working in smaller theatres before graduating from drama school, within two years thereafter she was starring in the West End. Ashcroft maintained her leading place in British theatre for the next fifty years. Always attracted by the ideals of permanent theatrical ensembles, she did much of her work for the Old Vic in the early 1930s, John Gielgud's companies in the 1930s and 1940s, the Royal Shakespeare Company from the 1950s and the National Theatre from the 1970s. While well regarded in Shakespeare, Ashcroft was known for her commitment to modern drama, appearing in plays by Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter.
Her career was wholly spent in the live theatre until the 1980s, when she turned to television and cinema with considerable success, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and several British and European awards. Ashcroft was born in Croydon, the younger child and only daughter of William Worsley Ashcroft, a land agent, his wife, Violetta Maud, née Bernheim. According to her biographer Michael Billington Violetta Ashcroft was of Danish and German-Jewish descent and a keen amateur actress. Ashcroft's father was killed on active service in the First World War, she attended Woodford School, East Croydon, where one of her teachers encouraged her love of Shakespeare, but neither her teachers nor her mother approved of her desire to become a professional actress. Ashcroft was determined, at the age of sixteen, she enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama, run by Elsie Fogerty, from whom her mother had taken lessons some years before; the school's emphasis was on the voice and elegant diction, which did not appeal to Ashcroft or to her fellow pupil Laurence Olivier.
She learned more from reading My Life in Art by Constantin Stanislavski, the influential director of the Moscow Art Theatre. While still a student, Ashcroft made her professional stage debut at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in a revival of J. M. Barrie's Dear Brutus opposite Ralph Richardson, with whom she had been impressed when she saw him in Charles Doran's touring company while she was still a schoolgirl, she graduated from the Central School in 1927 with London University's Diploma in Dramatic Art. Never much drawn to the West End or stardom, she learned her craft with small companies in fringe theatres, her first notable West End role was Naemi in Jew Süss in 1929, an extravagantly theatrical production, in which she won praise for the naturalism and truth of her playing. In the same year she married Rupert Hart-Davis an aspiring actor a well-known publisher, he described the marriage as "a sad failure: we were much too young to know what we wanted... after much agony we parted and were duly divorced.
Nowadays Peggy and I lunch together once or twice a year in a Soho restaurant and have a lovely nostalgic-romantic talk of shared memories of long ago. She is a lovely person and the best actress living." In 1930 Ashcroft was cast as Desdemona in a production of Othello at the Savoy Theatre, starring Paul Robeson in the title role. The production was not well received; the production prompted a political awakening in Ashcroft, astonished to receive hate-mail for appearing onstage with a black actor. During the run she had a brief affair with Robeson, followed by another with the writer J. B. Priestley, put an end to her first marriage. Hart-Davis was granted a divorce in 1933, on the grounds of Ashcroft's adultery with the director Theodore Komisarjevsky. Among those impressed by Ashcroft's performance as Desdemona was John Gielgud established as a West End star, he recalled, "When Peggy came on in the Senate scene it was as if all the lights in the theatre had gone up". In 1932 he was invited by the Oxford University Dramatic Society to try his hand at directing, in the society's production of Romeo and Juliet.
Ashcroft as Juliet and Edith Evans as the nurse won golden notices, although their director notorious for his innocent slips of the tongue, referred to them as "Two leading ladies, the like of whom I hope I shall never meet again." Ashcroft joined the Old Vic company for the 1932–33 season. The theatre, in an unfashionable area of London south of the Thames, was run by Lilian Baylis to offer plays and operas to a working-class audience at low ticket prices, she paid her performers modest wages, but the theatre was known for its unrivaled repertory of classics Shakespeare, many West End stars took a large pay cut to work there. It was, in the place to learn Shakespearean technique and try new ideas. During the season Ashcroft played five Shakespeare heroines, as well as Kate in She Stoops to Conquer, Mary Stuart in a new play by John Drinkwater, Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal. In 1933 she made The Wandering Jew, she was not attracted to the medium of cinema and made only four more films over the next quarter-century.
During her professional and personal relationship with Komisarjevsky, whom she married in 1934 and left in 1936, Ashcroft learned from him what Billington calls "the vital importance of discipline and the idea that t