Title and statement of responsibility area
Stuart Baker fonds
General material designation
- Multiple media
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Edition statement of responsibility
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Arngrim, Thor
- In 2005, Arngrim attempted to identify the individuals pictured in photographs comprising the Totem Theatre series. To this end, he added a steno pad with identifiying information to the fonds.
1948 - 1988 (Creation)
- Baker, Stuart
Physical description area
1.2 m of textual records and other material
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Stuart Baker was born in Sydney, Australia on November 9, 1924. Shortly after his father’s death in the mid-1920s, Baker and his mother moved to her original home in Kent, England. In 1940, Baker was evacuated and sent to live with relatives in Vancouver, BC, and later joined the Canadian Army.
After demobilization, he returned to Vancouver and, in 1948, became involved with the St. James’ Players’ Guild, Vagabond Players and the Vancouver Little Theatre Association in addition to working at CBC radio. In 1948, Baker met Thor Arngrim at an audition for the Vancouver Little Theatre Company, and both were subsequently asked to act for the Everyman acting company. In 1950, Baker and Arngrim became the public relations team for the Vancouver Opera Theatre, newly formed by Peter Mannering. Baker and Arngrim later founded the Totem Theatre Company in 1951, and when their lease expired in 1953, moved the Company to Victoria. After its demise in 1954, Baker spent time living in several different provinces across Canada, but later returned to Victoria and became closely associated with the Bastion Theatre Company. During this time, he adopted the stage name Stuart Kent after his childhood home, due to the fact that Actors Equity states that no new member may use a name that is still in use by another member. He died in Victoria, BC on June 30, 1986.
Scope and content
The fonds consists of five series: Personal Life, Pre-Totem Theatre Involvement, Totem Theatre, Post-Totem Theatre Involvement and the Arngrim Family series. These series document Baker’s involvement in the Canadian theatre scene over a period of time spanning approximately thirty years, as well as certain aspects of his personal life. The fonds consists primarily of photographs and slides, both professional and private; they are largely unidentified. Also included are three scrapbooks of drama clippings of Vancouver productions, 1948-1951, theatre posters, programs, memorabilia and several letters.
Personal Life series includes photographs, slides and home movies accumulated by Baker that relate to family, friends and trips abroad.
Pre-Totem Theatre Involvement series documents Baker’s involvement in Canadian theatre from the late 1940s until 1951, and is comprised of photographic material.
Totem Theatre series documents extensively Baker’s involvement with the Totem Theatre company between 1951 and 1954. The series encompasses not only the administrative and promotional side of Totem Theatre, but also the production and staging side. The series includes administrative and promotional material as well as photographs and an extensive collection of newspaper clippings.
Post-Totem Theatre Involvement series documents Baker’s involvement with North American theatre between 1954 and the late 1970s, and includes an extensive collection of slides, photographs and newspaper clippings. The Education sub-series documents Baker’s involvement with drama and summer theatre schools.
Arngrim Family series consists of documents accumulated by Baker that relate to the family of his friend, Thor Arngrim and include photographs, slides and sound recordings. Arngrim married Totem Theatre actress Nora MacMillan in 1954 after the demise of the theatre company, and as such, some materials relating to her later work can also be found within this series.
The fonds has one subseries: the Education sub-series found within the Post-Totem Theatre Involvement series.
Immediate source of acquisition
Donation: Colin Barr
Language of material
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Series and file list available
BCAUL control number: UVICARCH-118
Other material: ca. 9522 photographs: b&w and col. negatives and contact sheets; ca. 3000 photographs: col. slides ca.; 1098 photographs: b&w and col. ; 12 reels: 8 mm, colour; 8 objects; 3 sound recordings