SMYTH, Owen Paul

1895 - 1979

Born at Swilland, near Ipswich on 27 January 1895, son of William Smyth (1845-1899) and his second wife Margaret Emma née Wright (1863-1944), who married at Swilland in 1885, William's first wife was Mary Elizabeth née Buttrum (1851-1883) who married in 1874. In 1901, living at 33 Berners Street, Ipswich with his 38 year old widowed mother Margaret Emma, step-brother William Bruce Smyth 25, and siblings Helen Dorothy 14, Audrey Jane 13, Edward William 11 and, by 1911 had moved to 195 Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich when Owen was a 16 year old, working as an assistant on the County Council. By 1927 he had moved to Norwich in which year he married Cecily Alice May Carr (1895-1991), a schoolteacher and in the same year exhibited at the Ipswich Fine Art Club from The Maddermarket Studio, St John Maddermarket, Norwich two works 'The Canal Side, Namur' and 'Catfield Mill, Norfolk' and was a non-exhibiting member of the Woodpecker Art Club, later the Norfolk & Norwich Art Circle, from Norwich 1928-1951. A landscape painter, theatre designer, actor and theatre manager, Smyth had a varied career being employed by Walter Nugent Monck (1888-1958) as designer, scene painter and stage manager in the early years of Norwich Maddermarket Theatre. He performed with the Norwich Players in 46 out of 55 productions, before moving on to the Old Vic, London where he spent 7 years as designer for stage and costumes under Lilian Mary Baylis (1874-1937). In 1950 Smyth became the first manager of the Assembly House, Norwich where he remained until his retirement in 1965. In 1939 a manager of a house decorating & plumbing business, living at 8 St John's Alley, Norwich with his wife Cecily, a teacher of French in a High School. He died at Norwich Outer district in 1979. An archive from 1920s and 1930s of his works, production photographs, correspondence, account books and exhibition sales, personal items and papers, etc., are held at University of Bristol Theatre Collection, University of Bristol.