She acted in James Joyce's play, "Exiles," in a Royal Shakespeare Company production at the Aldwych Theatre in London, England with John Wood, T.P. McKenna, Estelle Kohler, and Marjorie Wilde in the cast. Harold Pinter was director.
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She changed her first name from Ada to Vivien (after Vivien Leigh), hoping it would provide her with a more glamorous image; and from Thompson to Merchant, because she was proud of her brother's service in the Merchant Navy.