Margaret Rawlings

Margaret Rawlings, Lady Barlow (5 June 1906 – 19 May 1996) was an English stage actress, born in Osaka, Japan, daughter of the Rev. George William Rawlings and his wife Lilian (née Boddington) Rawlings.

Personal life/affiliations

She was educated at Oxford High School and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She first married Gabriel Toyne (marriage dissolved) and then Sir Robert Barlow (knighted 1943) who pre-deceased her.

Her entries in Who's Who in the Theatre record her private address as 10 Duke Street, Adelphi, London WC2 (1936), Flat 12, 72 Westbourne Terrace, London W2 (1939), then finally Rocketer Farm, Wendover, Buckinghamshire (from 1947 onwards).

She was a co-founder of Equity, serving as a Council member for 30 years and was twice appointed Vice-President, in 1973–74 and 1975–76.

Theatre career

While still at Oxford, Rawlings appeared at the Little Theatre with John Masefield's company. She made her professional debut in March 1927 with The Macdona Players as Jennifer in The Doctor's Dilemma at Croydon, and subsequently also played in The Philanderer, Arms and the Man, You Never Can Tell and The Dark Lady of the Sonnets.

She made her London stage debut on 22 January 1928 with the Venturers company as Louise in Jordan at the Strand Theatre, then toured as Gwen in The Fanatics and as Jill in Chance Acquaintance. In October 1928 at the Embassy Theatre she played Vivian Mason in The Seventh Guest and Moya in The Shadow, before touring with Maurice Colbourne and Barry Jones in Shaw repertory to Canada and the United States in 1929–30.


Roles included:


  • Verna Mountstephan in A House in the Square (Diana Morgan), St Martin's Theatre April 1940
  • Mrs Dearth in Dear Brutus (J M Barrie directed by John Gielgud, Globe Theatre January 1941
  • Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest (Wilde), Theatre Royal Haymarket April 1946
  • Titania in The Fairy Queen, Covent Garden December 1946
  • Vittoria Corombona in The White Devil (John Webster), Duchess Theatre March 1947
  • Marceline in The Unquiet Spirit (Jean-Jacques Bernard), Arts Theatre February 1949
  • Germaine in A Woman in Love (adapted and directed by Michael Redgrave), Embassy Theatre April 1949


  • The Countess in The Purple Fig Tree (George Ralli), Piccadilly Theatre February 1950
  • Lady Macbeth to the Macbeth of Alec Clunes, who also directed, Arts Theatre June 1950
  • Anna Sergievna in Spring at Marino (Constance Cox) directed by John Fernald, Arts Theatre February 1951
  • Zabrina in Tamburlaine the Great (Christopher Marlowe) co-starring with Donald Wolfit in the title role and directed by Tyrone Guthrie, Old Vic September 1951
  • Lysistrata in The Apple Cart (Bernard Shaw) co-starring with Noël Coward as King Magnus, Theatre Royal Haymarket, May 1953
  • The Countess in The Dark is Light Enough (Christopher Fry directed by Peter Brook, touring Arts Theatre, Salisbury and Windsor 1955
  • Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Paulina in The Winter's Tale (to Paul Rogers' Falstaff and Leontes), Old Vic 1955–56 season
  • Title role in Phedre (Jean Racine), Theatre-in-the-Round November 1957 and tour



  • Giza in Catsplay, Greenwich Theatre October 1973
  • Appeared in Mixed Economy, King's Head 1977
  • Empress Eugenie in a solo touring performance, Cambridge Festival July 1978; May Fair Theatre and Vaudeville Theatre February 1979; Yvonne Arnaud Theatre July 1979; and the Dublin Festival, October 1979





  • Who's Who in the Theatre, 8th to 17th edition (1933 to 1981)
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