The 15th Annual Old Etonian Association (OEA) Lecture unfolded with enthusiasm at the Royal Geographical Society last week, featuring Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen OE as this year’s speaker.

Sir Stephen, who left Eton College in 1963, delighted attendees with stories from his extensive career in theatre and arts charities. 

From his early involvement in Eton’s drama department to his tenure as a theatre owner and producer, notable career highlights included his management of the St Martin’s Theatre and the production of The Mousetrap, the world’s longest-running stage show. 

OEA Chairman Sir William Russell said: “Sir Stephen gave us a fascinating insight into the world of London theatre, useful tips for any would-be producer but nothing at all on the secret of The Mousetrap

“His wide-ranging and amusing lecture enthralled a packed theatre at the RGS.”

Sir Stephen assumed the mantle of Joint Chief Executive of the Maybox Group in 1984. His tenure saw him at the helm of beloved venues across London, including the Albery (now the Noël Coward Theatre), the Criterion, and the legendary Donmar Warehouse. 

He also forever altered the landscape of entertainment as he pioneered the development of the first British-owned multiplex cinemas.

Sir Stephen’s imprint on London’s West End is unmistakable. Steering the ship as Chairman of the RADA Council and establishing the Mousetrap Theatre Projects, he championed the next generation of thespians and showed dedication to broadening access to West End Theatre for young people. 

As the curtain falls on another memorable OEA Lecture, the Association looks forward to welcoming Old Etonians to the annual gathering next year.