Sir Donald Wolfit

SIR DONALD WOLFIT (1902-1968) – was born in Balderton, near Newark, and attended the Magnus Grammar School.

When he was sixteen he had an audition with actor-manager Fred Terry who did not hire him. Unfazed, he began studying elocution and the broadsword, and Sir Donald Wolfitin 1920 won an unpaid position as an assistant stage manager with CharlesDoran’s Shakespeare Company. He made his first appearance at the Old Vic Theatre in 1929 as ‘Claudius’. In 1937 he formed the Donald Wolfit Shakespeare Company. From 1938 to 1943 he played most of the major Shakespeare roles in his own Company’s productions.

The Second World War interrupted theatrical activity, but he turned upheaval into triumph by performing during the London blackout to good reviews. He was made a CME in 1950, and a knighthood in 1957. He died in 1968 after a short illness.

donald wolfit

The Society erected this plaque on London Road, Balderton at 7.00pm 8th July 1974.  It was unveiled by Lady Rosalind Wolfit, followed by a reception in the Magnus Grammar School, Earp Avenue.

The report stated:

” The Chairman [of NALHS]  Mr Ralph Reddish, wishes to thank Lady Wolfit for her kindness in coming from her home in Hampshire, members of the family, the subscriber, Lt. Col. S I Derry D.S.O., Chairman of the Governors of the Magnus Grammar School, Mr & Mrs Meadows, Mr H V Radcliffe Secretary the Society Secretary, the Headmaster of the Newark Preparatory School and the ladies who provided the refreshments”