This chronology is based on one produced by the Noel Coward Centenary Committee (1999) with additional contributions from Sheridan Morley, Mark Fox, Michael Imison and John Knowles.
1899 Born Noël Peirce Coward, (weight seven and a half pounds) at 2.30 am,16 December at "Helmsdale", Waldegrave Road, Teddington, Middlesex to Arthur Sabin Coward and Violet Agnes (Veitch) Coward. Pet name 'Baba'.
1905 Eric Coward, Coward's brother was born.
1907 July 23rd: Coward's first public appearance at an end of term concert at St Margaret's, Sutton.
1911 Made first stage appearance as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish
1912 The Great Name with Charles Hawtrey and Where The Rainbow Ends. On February 2nd he made his directorial debut with The Daisy Chain.
1913 Played Slightly in Peter Pan. Noël met Gertrude Lawrence.
1914 Out of work for most of the year until Peter Pan again
1915 Where The Rainbow Ends again in a different part. He played his first adult role in Charley's Aunt. He also wrote both music and lyrics for his first song Forbidden Fruit.
1916 Appeared in the Light Blues with Cicely Courtneidge. He made his cabaret debut.
1917 Ida Collaborates (written with Esme Wynne) produced on a British tour. Made first film appearance in W.D.Griffiths' Hearts of the World. This year he served in the army
1918 Coward has his second play produced, Woman and Whiskey (written with Esme Wynne).Wrote The Rat Trap.
1919 He had his first song published: The Baseball Rag with music by Doris Joel.
1920 I'll Leave It To You (1919) produced in England (1923 in America).
1921 Wrote Sirocco. His first trip to America.
1922 The Young Idea (1921) produced in England (1932 in America). A Withered Nosegay was published.
1923 Played Sholto Brent in The Young Idea in the West End. Wrote songs and sketches and appears with Gertrude Lawrence in London Calling!
1924 The Vortex (1923) produced with Coward playing Nicky Lancaster. He became a sensation. Also Fallen Angels enjoyed a West End production. This year he also wrote his first radio sketch.
1925 Coward meets John C. Wilson. Hay Fever (1924) produced in Britain. The Vortex was produced on Broadway with Coward in the lead role. He also made his radio debut and first recording.
1926 The Rat Trap (1918) and The Queen Was In Her Parlour (1922) produced in Britain. Wrote This Was A Man produced in America, The Marquise produced in Britain (America 1927) and Semi-Monde. Easy Virtue at The Duke of York's Theatre.
1927 The first film versions his plays produced; Easy Virtue, The Vortex and The Queen Was In The Parlour. Home Chat produced in Britain (1932 America). Coward composed A Room With A View. Sirocco (1921) produced in London and was a resounding failure, booed on the first night and Coward spat at in the street.
1928 This Year of Grace (1928) was produced in the West End, and on Broadway (with Coward appearing).
1929 Wrote book, lyrics, music and directed Bitter Sweet which was produced in the West End and on Broadway. He also wrote Private Lives this year.
1930 Private Lives was produced in London with Noël and Gertrude Lawrence as Elyot and Amanda. Wrote Post-Mortem and Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
1931 Private Lives was produced on Broadway starring Noël and Gertrude Lawrence. Coward wrote the book, music and lyrics (including Twentieth Century Blues), and directed Cavalcade which was also produced this year at Drury Lane in the West End. Coward met Graham Payn at audition for Words and Music.
1932 The Noël Coward Company formed to perform his plays in repertory. Cavalcade won the Academy Award for Best Picture. For the revue Words and Music Coward wrote book, music and lyrics, including Mad About the Boy. The Queen Was In Her Parlour filmed again as Tonight Is Ours.
1933 Design for Living (1932) was produced on Broadway with Coward and The Lunts (Alfred Lunt & Lynn Fontanne). Design for Living and Bitter-Sweet both filmed. Wrote Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage Mrs. Worthington. Patrick Braybrook wrote The Amazing Mr. Noël Coward.
1934 Conversation Piece (1933) produced in Britain (starring Coward) and in America. Coward played his first major film role in The Scoundrel. He cut ties with C.B.Cochran and formed Transatlantic Productions with John C. Wilson and the Lunts to produce his plays and the plays of others. Wrote Point Valaine, produced in America (Britain in 1944).
1935 Wrote and starred in Tonight At 8.30 in London. Ten one-act plays written by Coward for him to perform with Gertrude Lawrence to avoid the boredom of a normal three month run.
1936 Tonight At 8.30 was produced in America with Coward.
1937 Present Indicative was published, the first volume of his autobiography. Wrote The Stately Homes of England.
1938 Operette (1937) produced. Adapted Words and Music (1932) for American production as Set to Music.
1939 Design for Living produced in Britain. Wrote This Happy Breed and Present Laughter but rehearsals interrupted by outbreak of war. From September 1939 to April 1940 Coward held post in Enemy Propaganda Office in Paris. The first television version of his plays produced Hay Fever. His first set of short stories was published: To Step Aside.
1940 Singing tour to Australia for the Armed Forces. Wrote Time Remembered (Salute to the Brave) as yet unperformed.
1941 Blithe Spirit (1941) starts a long run at the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End (directed by and starring Coward), and on Broadway. He also began writing In Which We Serve. Wrote London Pride and toured New Zealand.
1942 Coward took This Happy Breed (1939), Present Laughter (1939) and Blithe Spirit on tour in Britain. London production of Blithe Spirit transferred from St. James' and then Duchess' Theatres where its run totaled 1997 performances. Coward played the lead in both and appeared as Captain Kinross (based on Louis Mountbatten) in the film In Which We Served which he co-directed with David Lean. Coward won the special Academy Award for Best Production.
1943 Present Laughter and This Happy Breed were produced in the West End with Coward in the leading roles. This Happy Breed filmed with Coward as co-producer.
1944 Coward continued to entertain the troops. Middle East Diary published and caused an uproar in the US because of the line about mournful boys from Brooklyn. Coward toured extensively in South Africa. Blithe Spirit filmed with Rex Harrison. Wrote screenplay for Brief Encounter, based on Still Life in Tonight At 8.30.
1945 Brief Encounter was premiered. Wrote Sigh No More which is produced in Britain.
1946 The musical Pacific 1860 (1945) produced at Drury Lane starring Mary Martin and Graham Payn. Present Laughter produced in America.
1947 Peace in Our Time (1946) produced. Appeared in Present Laughter in Britain. Wrote Long Island Sound. Did 13 episodes of a radio series.
1948 Coward made his last appearance with Gertrude Lawrence as a replacement for the ailing Graham Payn in Tonight at 8.30 on tour in the US. He played Present Laughter in French (Joyeux Chagrins) in Paris.Wrote screenplay for Astonished Heart from Tonight at 8.30.
1949 This Happy Breed produced in America. Appears in The Astonished Heart. Wrote Home and Colonial. Fallen Angels revived with Hermiones Gingold and Baddeley.
1950 The musical Ace of Clubs (1949) produced at Cambridge Theatre.
1951 Coward launched a new career in cabaret at Café de Paris. (Charles B. Cochran and lvor Novello died this year.) Relative Values (1950) produced at the Savoy Theatre (America 1954). Star Quality a volume of short stories published. Home and Colonial produced in America as Island Fling.
1952 Quadrille produced at the Phoenix Theatre. Wrote there are Bad Times Just Around the Corner. Three plays from Tonight at 8.30 filmed as Meet Me Tonight. The Vortex revived with Dirk
Bogarde. Bought land in Blue Harbour, Jamaica and built Firefly.
1953 Coward played in Shaw's The Apple Cart. The Noël Coward Songbook published.
1954 After the Ball (1954) produced in Britain (America 1955). Future Indefinite, second autobiography, published. Coward's mother dies on 30th June.
1955 Coward made his television debut in Together With Music with Mary Martin. He also made his Las Vegas debut.
1956 Coward became a tax exile, giving up residence in England and moving to Bermuda. He made his Carnegie Hall debut narrating Carnival of the Animals. Nude With Violin (1954) produced at the Globe (now the Gielgud) Theatre. Sir John Gielgud understudied Coward and later took over the role. Appeared on American television in Blithe Spirit and This Happy Breed. Revised Home and Colonial for British production of South Sea Bubble.
1957 Starred in American production of Nude With Violin.
1958 Coward made his first post-war Broadway appearance in Present Laughter. Adapted a Feydeau farce as Look After Lulu produced in America (and Britain 1959).
1959 Moved to Les Avants in Switzerland. Composed his first score for the ballet London Morning. Starred in the films: Our Man in Havana with Alec Guinness and Surprise Package with Yul Brynner.
1960 Waiting in The Wings (1959) produced. Published his novel Pomp and Circumstance. London Morning produced in Britain.
1961 Wrote and directed Sail Away on Broadway. Wrote a series of articles for the Times berating the new wave of English drama (Osborne and others)
1962 Wrote music and lyrics for The Girl Who Came To Supper. Sail Away (1961) produced in Britain.
1963 Private Lives was revived in Britain, changing a negative critical trend. The Girl Who Came To Supper (1962) was produced on Broadway.
1964 Coward directed High Spirits (based on Blithe Spirit) and received Tony nominations for directing and book writing. He directed a revival of Hay Fever, with Edith Evans, at the National Theatre, London to great acclaim. A collection of stories published under the title Pretty Polly Barlow.
1965 The Lyrics of Noel Coward was published this year.
1966 Coward appeared in the West End for the last time in his last three one act plays Suite in Three Keys (1965).
1967 Bon Voyage and Not Yet The Dodo were both published. Coward appeared as Caesar in Richard Rogers' TV musical Androcles and the Lion. He also worked on the third volume of his autobiography (unfinished) Past Conditional. Fallen Angels revived with Joan Greenwood and Constance Cummings
1968 Post-Mortem (1930) gets its first professional production on British TV. Coward was portrayed by Daniel Massey in a film biography of Gertrude Lawrence Star!. Coward played Mr. Bridger in The Italian Job. Hay Fever revived with Celia Johnson and Roland Culver.
1969 Coward's 70th birthday was celebrated with a lunch at Clarence House with the Queen, a midnight matinee at the Phoenix Theatre, an omnibus documentary on television, a season of Coward films at the National Film Theatre and a dinner at the Savoy. Coward dubbed it 'Holy Week'. Sheridan Morley publishes the first authorised biography, A Talent To Amuse.
1970 Noël Coward was Knighted by Her Majesty the Queen (New Year's Honours list).
1971 Received a Tony Award for distinguished achievement in the theatre.
1972 Cowardy Custard an anthology of Cowards songs and writings, was produced in London with great success at the Mermaid Theatre. Oh Coward! another anthology, produced for a Toronto nightclub, began a tour of North America. Coward received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Sussex. Noël by Charles Castle published. Private Lives at the Queen's Theatre with Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens.
1973 Oh Coward! opened on Broadway. Coward made his last public appearance at a gala performance of Oh Coward! Noël Coward died on March 26th in Jamaica and was buried in the garden at Firefly. Memorial service held at St. Martin's in the Fields. Design for Living revived with Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Brett and John Stride at the Phoenix Theatre.
1974 Noël Coward in Two Keys (a version of Suite in Three Keys) produced in America.
1976 First publication of The Life of Noël Coward by Cole Lesley.
1977 First fully stage production of Semi-Monde (1926) at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre.
1978 Noël Coward and His Friends by Cole Lesley, Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley, published. Firefly given to Jamaican Heritage Trust.
1979 The Noël Coward Songbook was published.
1980 Tonight at 8.30 with John Standing at the Lyric Theatre
1981 Design for Living with Maria Aitken at the Globe Theatre. Present Laughter at Greenwich and in the West End starring Donald Sinden. Publication of The Noël Coward Diaries edited by Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley.
1982 Penelope Keith starred in Hay Fever at the Queen's Theatre.
1984 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother unveiled a memorial stone to Coward in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey.
1985 Cavalcade revived at the Shaw Festival, Niagara, Canada.
1988 Easy Virtue with Jane How and Zena Walker at the King's Head Theatre and The Vortex with Maria Aitken and Rupert Everett (originally at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre) both produced at the Garrick theatre. Bitter-Sweet revived at Sadler's Wells and on tour starring Valerie Masterson.
1989 Noël Coward by Milton Levin published. West End premier performance of Sheridan Morley's entertainment based on Coward's writings, Noël and Gertie, starred Patricia Hodge and Simon Cadell. (Charity performances had been given previously at Monaco and the Mayfair Theatre in 1981, Kings Head May 1983 and the Donmar in 1986.)
1990 Private Lives revived at the Aldwych theatre starring Joan Collins and Keith Baxter.
1991 Noël and Gertie at Duke of York's Theatre with Susan Hampshire and Edward Petheridge. Point Valaine produced at Chichester.
1992 The plays of Tonight at 8.30 recorded and broadcast as television plays starring Joan Collins.
1993 Present Laughter starring Tom Conti at Gielgud Theatre. Susan Hampshire starred in Relative Values at Chichester and the Savoy Theatre. Chris Blackwell buys 25 year lease of Firefly.
1994 Graham Payn published My Life with Noël Coward including previously unpublished writings.
1995 Award winning production of Design for Living transferred to the Gielgud from Donmar Warehouse. Publication of Noël Coward A Biography by Philip Hoare.
1996 Present Laughter starring Peter Bowles at the Aldwych Theatre and transfer to Wyndhams.
1997 Blithe Spirit revived at Chichester Festival Theatre with Twiggy and Dora Bryan.
1998 Noël and Gertie produced at Sag Harbor, New York starring Twiggy and James Warwick. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother unveiled a statue of Coward by Angela Conner in the foyer of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Publication of The Complete Lyrics of Noël Coward by Barry Day.
1999 Centenary of Coward's birth sees a spate of productions including: Private Lives at The Royal National Theatre, Nude With Violin at Manchester Royal Exchange, Geraldine McEwan in a West End production of Hay Fever, Easy Virtue at Chichester and Sheridan Morley's production of Song At Twilight at The King's Head Theatre and in the West End with Vanessa Redgrave, Kika Markham and Corin Redgrave. If Love Were All (Noël and Gertie) opened off-Broadway with Twiggy and Harry Groener, directed by Leigh Lawson.. Methuen republish the Complete Works of Noël Coward in a commemorative series. Oberon Books republish Sheridan Morley's A Talent To Amuse and A Bright and Particular Star in one volume under the title The Private Lives of Noël and Gertie.
Copyright - The Noel Coward Society - May 2001
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