27 March 1908 – 22 March 1973

Hugh Beaumont, famously known as Binkie Beaumont, was one of the most powerful West End theatre managers of his, or any other, generation.

Binkie Beaumont, Angela Baddeley and Emlyn Williams, in a portrait by Angus McBean.

Binkie Beaumont, Angela Baddeley and Emlyn Williams, in a portrait by Angus McBean. © The President and Fellows of Harvard College

As co-founder and managing director of play producers H.M. Tennent Ltd, he controlled much of the West End for forty years. He was famously very publicity shy, avoiding his picture being in the papers and leaving scant details about his parents, upbringing, education or even his real name.

He worked out of a small office above the Gielgud Theatre (then the Globe Theatre) on Shaftesbury Avenue and at one time was running a staggering fourteen productions at the same time in London. From 1936 to 1973 the company produced over 400 plays, musicals and revues, covering every aspect of British theatre from big musicals such as My Fair Lady to the edgy new work of Joe Orton.

He touched the lives of many of the most famous writers and actors of the Twentieth Century, forming close working relationships with people such as Noel Coward, Terence Rattigan, Emlyn Williams, Cecil Beaton, John Gielgud, Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Peggy Ashcroft and Edith Evans.

For much of his time in the West End, he was assisted by the efforts of H.M. Tennent’s talented press agent Vivienne “No News Is Good News” Byerley (1906-1995, obituary).

BOOKSHOP

Binkie Beaumont: Eminence Grise of the West End Theatre, 1933-73 (Richard Huggett)

Angus McBean Portraits (Terence Pepper)

Upper Circle: A Theatrical Chronicle (Kitty Black)