August 1980: Death of Bertha Waddell – Pioneer of Children’s Theatre

An obituary on page five of the St Andrews Citizen, on Saturday the 23rd of August, 1980, reads:


Bertha Waddell


Bertha Waddell of Caldergrove House, Lanarkshire, died after a short illness at her home on August 17, aged 72 [sic].


Pioneer of Children’s Theatre, she started her Company in Glasgow in 1927 and toured throughout Britain until she

and her sister, Jenny Waddell, retired in 1968. She personally created a unique programme of dramatised nursery

rhymes, ballads, short plays and mimes which delighted children of all ages.


Her diligent efforts convinced Education Committees of the importance of theatre for children and by persistence,

opened the way for performances to be given during school hours as part of the curriculum. Tours were arranged by

Scottish Arts Council to take her company to remote corners of Scotland, Highlands and Islands.


Performances were given to two generations of the Royal Family at Glamis, Buckingham Palace and Balmoral Castle.


She was awarded the M.B.E. for her services to the Theatre.”




The British Newspaper Archive.



In The Glasgow Herald, Bertha’s age at death is given as 73.




George Fairfull-Smith, May 2024.