Papers of Geoffrey Ingram
Scope and Content Note
2.72 metres (15 boxes + 1 folio box)
Available for reference
The papers were purchased from Geoffrey Ingram by the National Library
in several instalments between 1987 and 1993. Two further additions were
donated by Ingram in 1997 and 1998.
The collection was assembled by Geoffrey Ingram. It comprises
correspondence, photographs, programs, music scores, personal documents and
memorabilia relating to the Borovansky Ballet Company and Edouard and Xenia
It also includes the papers of Lisbeth Montgomery (1936-49), Ballet
Rambert cuttings (1946-48), records of the Australian Ballet and Ingram's own
A former actor and dancer, Geoffrey Ingram was born in Melbourne on 21
February 1924. He was one of the people most instrumental in promoting the
establishment of a national ballet in Australia. On the formation in 1960 of
the Australian Ballet Foundation, he was appointed as Administrative Assistant.
During a subsequent year overseas, he visited all major ballet establishments,
including those in Milan, London, Leningrad and Moscow, and studied
administration and promotion methods. In 1963 he became founding Administrator
of the Australian Ballet and organised its promotion and educational
In 1964 Geoffrey Ingram conducted negotiations in London with Rudolph
Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn which resulted in their guest appearances with the
Australian Ballet in the first international tour of a major Australian
theatrical company. This successful tour in 1965 took the Australian Ballet to
the Baalbeck Festival in the south of France, and the Royal Opera House, Covent
Garden. In the late sixties Geoffrey Ingram made excursions into film
production and also owned a restaurant.
In 1969 he undertook the first challenge to the legality of an arms
agreement when, in the High Court of Australia, he challenged the S.A.L.T. II
treaty between the Soviet Union and United States. Since then he has been
engaged in comparative studies on the arts of war and peace.
Folder 1 Folio of documents of Xenia Smirnoff including extract
of birth certificate ( Imperial Russian, 1918); passport of her father Nicolai
Smirnoff and his will; certified copy of an Entry of Marriage (Westminster,
1933) to Edouard Skrecek Borovansky witnessed by Victor Dandre and Anna
Pruzina; death certificates (3) of Alexandra Smirnoff (Prague, 1944 -
German/Czech) together with photo outside Caxton Hall with Borovansky and other
personal photos of herself and brother Bob Smirnoff, eccentric dancer; press
cuttings from Listener In on the opening of the Borovansky studio (May
1939) and poster from Germany featuring Bob Walking (Bob Smirnoff) circa 1946,
with advert and photos of Smirnoff; certificates of identity of Alexandra
Smirnoff (Australia and British fragment), formerly Bolshoi soloist.
Folder 2 Documents and correspondence of Edouard Borovansky
including three birth certificates (Czech, Prague 1923/4); certificate of
registration (Bow St., 1927); List Domovsky and cert. de lassignation des
valeurs (Czech, 1936-8); certificate of identity (Australia, 1944); passport
(Australia, 1950) and international health and electoral claim; press cuttings
of Borovansky in charge of supers (Sunday Sun, 1939); letter
to Sacha describing reason for staying in Australia (1943); first
correspondence with letters from Sir Harry Chauvel, Daryl Lindsay, David
Martin, Sir William Slim, Kathleen Daintree; Memorandum of Agreement with
Colonel de Basil (London, 1937); Melbourne Ballet Club letters on Actors
Equity; registration of Borovanskys Ballet Academy (1940) Equity
Folder 3 Letters, including: Laurel Martyn to Borovanskys and to
Frederick Ashton with replies from Boro and de Valois; general correspondence
with Laurie Rentoul, Tamara Tchinarova, Leon Kelleway, Kathleen Gorham, Peggy
Van Praagh, Elaine Fifield, Natalie Krassovska, Frederick Ashton, Arnold
Haskell, Paul Grinwis and fifteen letters from Frank Tait with replies;
application from Marilyn Jones for a position, 1957 and from Garth Welch to be
made a soloist, 1956.
Folder 4 Contracts between Edouard and Xenia Borovansky and
J.C.W. Theatre Ltd. from the first option on 20 July 1944 to final heads of
agreement, dated 27 March 195 ; letters of negotiation and dispute with legal
opinion from D.I. Menzies, Q.C. and others.
Folder 5 Fifteen letters from Tania and David Lichine with
replies from Borovansky, 1956-8
Folder 6 Letters (1956-8) informing Borovansky of negotiations
for Margot Fonteyn, Michael Somes, Rowena Jackson and Bryan Ashbridge to make
guest appearances in Sydney and Melbourne; letters between Borovansky and James
Laurie, Margot Fonteyn, Arthur and Frank Tait with proposed schedules; letters
relatiing to engagement of, and dispute with, Robert Pomie.
Folders 7-17 Detailed records of first performances of Borovansky
Company at Melbourne, 1942, including box office receipts etc. Miscellaneous
Folders 18-26 Selection of files from Borovansky Ballet Academy
with miscellaneous correspondence; J.C. Williamson travelling file with last
correspondence of Borovansky.
Folders 27-35 Correspondence with Frank Tait, 1951-56.
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1956-58.
Folder 36 Papers relating to Borovanskys visit to Paris in
1956. They include a travel diary, pocket book, three address books, a 1951
diary (one entry only) and a copy of Sidur in Hebrew.
Folders 37-39 Soviets today music scores, newspaper
clippings and other printed material, 1939-80.
Folders 40-41 Receipts and accounts, two ledgers, 1947-73.
Folders 42-46 Photos of Borovansky Company and artists in
rehearsal and performance. Album of photos of Borovansky Academy and album of
photos and postcards collected on voyage to Australia. Negatives also
Folders 47-50 Correspondence of Xenia Borovansky, 1956-57.
Folder 51 Australian Academy of Dancing.
Folder 52 Australian Ballet, 1960s-70s.
Folders 53-54 Letters to Lisbeth Montgomerie, photographs and
souvenir programmes, 1940-78.
Addition 19 July1989
Personal albums of Lisbeth Montgomerie, one-time secretary to the
Borovanskys, with photographs of Xenia and Edouard at Hastings, Victoria.
Folio of programmes and press cuttings of Ballet Rambert in Australia
with material from the Lisbeth Montgomerie collection including signed photos
from John Gilpin, Joyce Graeme etc; and scrapbook. 1936-49.
Addition November 1993
Folder 55 Personal files, 1935-82. The personal items include
Ingram's pupil record book, passports, travel documents, cuttings, contracts
for 'Oklahoma' (1948) and with the Australian National Theatre Movement (1954),
programs of shows, photographs of dancers, telegrams, and a letter from Marilyn
Folder 56 A second personal folder has several letters from Sir
Geoffrey Keynes, written between 1962 and 1980 on family and ballet matters.
Keynes, a surgeon and bibliographer, inspired the ballet Job. His study
of Blake's Vision of the book of Job gave him the idea for Job,
reportedly 'a great English ballet of this century'. A review of Geoffrey
Keynes' autobiography, in the Times Literary Supplement of 6 November
1981, is included.
Folder 57 Geoffrey Ingram articles (n.d.). Manuscript drafts and
annotated typescripts of articles written by Ingram. Topics includedance,
ballet, the Australian Ballet and its first performance, and 'art, authorship
Folder 58 Correspondence, 1951-61. A large number of letters are
concerned with the formation of a national ballet. In 1961 the Borovansky
Company went into recess, to be reformed as part of the newly created
Australian Ballet Foundation. The Foundation was formed, initially under the
sponsorship of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and J. C. Williamson
Theatres Ltd., to undertake the establishment of a permanent national ballet.
The Australian Ballet was formed in 1962, beginning its first season at Her
Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, on November 2, 1962. Correspondents include Edouard
Borovansky, Peggy van Praagh, Hugh Hunt, Professor Joseph Burke, Dr H. C.
Coombs, Laurel Martyn, John McCallum, Sir Frank Tait, and Bill Judges.
Folder 59 Correspondence, 1956-63. Included in this folder are
letters, press statements on the establishment of the Australian Ballet
Foundation (1960), and typed notes on a suggested method for proceeding with
the establishment of the Australian Ballet Trust. There is a letter from Ingram
to the Director of the Bolshoi Theatre on the creation of the first permanent
national ballet company for Australia and a letter from Neil Hutchinson to
Ingram telling of his discussions with Dr Coombs on the organizational lines
for proceeding with plans for the Ballet. Correspondents include Lord
Huntingfield, Bill Judges, John McCallum, Neil Hutchinson, the executive
director of the Ballet Trust, H. C. Coombs, Peggy van Praagh, and Geoffrey
Folder 60 Correspondence, 1962-63. There are letters from Ingram
to several broadcasting stations and others concerning the first season of the
Australian Ballet, commencing 20 February 1963. The Ballet was formed by the
Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and the J C Williamson Theatres, and there
are notes on the AETT and the Australian Ballet. There are also letters to
Peggy van Praagh, Louis van Eyssen, general manager of the Australian Ballet,
John McCallum, and Stefan Haag, Executive Director of the Theatre Trust.
Folder 61 Correspondence, statistics, memoranda, cuttings,
minutes, 1964-68. An analysis of takings and performances is in statistical
form, and there is a form of agreement for dancers (1964). The correspondence
is mainly between Ingram and William Cronshaw, business manager of the
Australian Ballet. There are also letters to Peggy van Praagh, Robert Helpmann,
Stefan Haag and Dr H. Coombs, and a letter from Pattie Menzies thanking Ingram
for tickets to The Display. Much of the correspondence deals with an
overseas tour by the Ballet (1955/56), and the financial conditions for
participating in a European tour with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. Dates,
ballets to be performed, costumes and costs are discussed.
Folder 62 Correspondence, 1965-66. There are many letters to and
from Robert Helpmann, including one from Bruce Scott, the administrator of the
Ballet, in which he sets out the financial terms of Helpmann's appointment as
co-artistic director of the Ballet with Peggy van Praagh. Letters concerned
with the European tour include one from Bill Cronshaw about transporting
scenery overseas. There is a letter to Lord Snowdon from Ingram (1965) about
his possible collaboration in the production of a new work for the Australian
Ballet, and also one to Sir Ian Potter on the same subject.
Folder 63 Special items relating to the Australian Ballet and the
Borovanskys, 1963-91. Items include the birth certificate of Xenia Borovansky
(Smirvov); a letter from James T. Laurie, Director of Concerts Management
(London), outlining agreements for the Australian Ballet's overseas tour with
Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev; a letter from Ingram to Nureyev expressing
his gratitude and congratulations for his wonderful career, together with a
program for Nureyev's farewell to Australia as a dancer; draft of a letter from
Frank Tait and H. C. Coombs to Robert Helpmann concerning his appointment as
joint artistic director of the Australian Ballet; draft of an article on the
Borovansky Ballet Company (1961); a proposition for the formation of a
permanent professional ballet company; formation of a ballet school connected
with the Australian Ballet; and criticism of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust by
Senator Turnbull and Senator Ormond. Included in the special items, but located
in Folio 1, is a copy of the will of Vlodia Smirnov, Xenia Borovansky's father,
who served the Czar with the rank of General. He left Russia in 1920,
penniless. The original will is thought to be in the Russian Department at
Folder 64 Correspondence, Arts, 1941-55. Copies of correspondence
dealing with post-war reconstruction and the Arts, including the formation of a
Cultural Council. Correspondents include H. C. Coombs, Roland Wilson, Dorothy
Helmrich, Ben Chifley, Arthur Fadden, Lloyd Ross and Murray Tyrell. There are
several letters on the representations made to Robert Menzies by Isaac Stern
for financial assistance for Ernest Llewellyn who had been awarded the William
Kapell Memorial Scholarship for travel overseas (1955). Included in this folder
is a Meanjin Archive list.
Folder 65 Papers prepared for the House of Representatives
Committee Arts Inquiry, 10 April 1986.
Folder 66 'Arts Enquiry', 1959. The papers cover the years
A letter was sent in 1959 to influential people actively engaged in or
professionally associated with the creative and interpretative arts. It
recommended that a request be made to the Federal Government for a commission
of enquiry into the state of the arts and letters in Australia. This letter was
signed by Eric Westbrook, Robin Boyd, Hector Crawford and Andrew Fabinyi. There
is a summary of excerpts from responses, including those from Mary Gilmore,
Patrick White, Frank Dalby Davison and Katharine S. Prichard; cuttings, minutes
of a meeting held in August 1959 with signatures of those present, submissions,
and copies of letters-to-the- editor; letters from Hector Crawford, Robin Boyd,
and Clem Christesen, a 1993 letter by Christesen on Boyd's involvement in the
Arts Enquiry Committee, and a letter by Ingram summarising the episode. There
is also a copy of the Canadian Massey Report, 1949, on the findings of the
Royal Commission on Arts, Letters and Sciences.
Folders Australian Ballet, 1959-66.
Folder 67-73 The series of folders includes files on the original
ballet committee, correspondence, minutes and fiscal reports, 1964-66. The
correspondents include Peggy van Praagh and Will Thompson. The minutes of the
Australian Ballet Theatre Group, formed after a meeting on 27 October 1959 to
consider an approach to the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust on the
formation of a permanent Australian ballet company, are handwritten.
There is also a file of promotional material for the Australian Ballet,
Folders SALT Challenge, 1970. (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty)
74-80 These are the complete legal documents for Ingram's challenge.
Because of his concern for the role of law in the maintenance of international
peace and security, Ingram explored the semantics of the SALT Treaty and
challenged its legality in the High Court of Australia in 1980. This is
recorded in J. G. Starke's Introduction to international law as the
first such action in any jurisdiction. The documents, which date from 1979-82
include correspondence, memoranda, cuttings and court transcripts, advice from
Starke, and the 'Statement of grievance on the part of a private person against
the signatories and parties to the Agreements...'.
Folder 81 Ballet programs, 1914-61. There are programs for
various ballet companies performing at Covent Garden (1939-55), Ballet Russe de
Monte Carlo (1938-39), Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo (1949-50), International
Ballet of the Marquis de Cuevas (1961), Sir Joseph Beecham's Grand Season of
Russian Opera and Ballet (1914), Original Ballet Russe (1946-47), and the
Ballets de Paris (1950).
Folder 82 Borovansky Ballet programs, 1940-47. A complete set of
Borovansky Ballet programs, 27 in all, beginning with a typewritten one.
Folder 83 Photographs. Dancers include Anna Pavlova
(Butterfly), Edouard Borovansky, Robert Helpmann, Kathy Gorham, Karl
Welander, Erik Bruhn (Don Quixote), Marilyn Jones, Garth Welch, Laurel
Martyn and Geoffrey Ingram (Swan Lake and Sentimental Bloke),
Leonide Massine, Martin Rubinstein, Edna Busse, Tatiana Stepanova, Olga
Morosova, Nina Verchinina and Barbara Chambers. There are photographs of
Colonel W. de Basil and Peggy van Praagh, William Dargie sketching the
Borovansky corps, the Australian Ballet's first international performance in
Baalbeck, Lebanon, the Borovansky company leaving Essendon, 1951, and the
Australian Ballet's first company photograph, 1962.
Folder 84 Posters. Posters for Australian Ballet performances at
Covent Garden, Birmingham and Nice, 1964-68.
Folder 85 Newspaper clippings on the Australian Ballet in
Australia and the U.K., 1962-66. Typescript of a proposed film for BP Australia
'Making a Ballet"
Pictorial outline of 'Grand Pas De Deux'.
Folio 1 Portrait and sketches. Self-portrait, 'Conflict', oil on canvas
Pencil sketch for nude self-portrait.
Sketches from 'Oklahoma' and 'L'Apres midi d'un faune'.
The will of Vlodia Smirnov, described in folder 63, is located in this
Addition 18 February 1997
Folder 86 Papers relating to the contribution of Rudolph Nureyev
to the development of the Australian Ballet.
Addition 6 January 1998
Folder 87 Photograph of Pavlova given to Nina Christesens
father. Christmas card to Ingram from Nina Christesen, dated 14 Dec. 1997.
Updated March 1999