Society for Theatre Research Survey: Theatre and Oral History
This is the communication that went out to project managers:
The Society for Theatre Research have asked me to look into the range and scope of oral history projects focused on theatre and performance, current, recent and planned, to guide them in formulating policy and allocating future resources in this area. The STR would also like to encourage members' awareness of and promote existing oral history resources in the area of theatre (including carnival, performance art, circus, street performance etc). I have been given your name as someone interested or active in this area and would be very grateful if you could fill in the following Questionnaire for each oral history project you have conducted and return it as a Microsoft Word or RTF attachment to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information such as listings of interviewees may also be attached. Information gathered will be compiled as a report for the STR committee and a digest of it will be published on the STR website. If you know of others who should receive this questionnaire, please pass this information on or send me their contact details. We are also keen to hear of earlier projects and recordings including material in earlier formats such as reel-to-reel recordings. A copy of the questionnaire is also available at www.susan.croft.btinternet.com along with information on the project Unfinished Histories: Recording the History of Alternative Theatre, the oral history project I jointly run.
Many thanks for your help and participation.
Dr Susan Croft
We are also interested to hear of relevant interviews that may have been done for other purposes than oral history e.g. journalism, academic studies, that owners would be prepared at some point to lodge in public domain for long-term accessibility.
Many thanks for your participation
Appendix 2: Key National Collections
1. National Sound Archive, British Library
The National Sound Archive has not undertaken its own specific projects on oral history and theatre, apart from Life Histories: an Oral History of British Theatre Design in conjunction with Wimbledon School of Art. However it advises on a range of projects both through Rob Perks Head of Oral history and Steve Cleary, Curator of Drama and Literature including many of those listed above and houses copies of many. Among earlier materials held by the NSA are collections from the African Writers Club interviewing many African playwrights including Efua Sutherland and Chinua Achebe and the Bow Dialogues from the late sixties where Glenda Jackson, Janet Suzman, Laurence Olivier, Michael Denison and others discussed issues including theatre censorship, stage morality, religion etc with the Rector of St Mary-Le-Bow Church. http://sounds.bl.uk/Default.aspx to search.
Other collections include:
Oral history: performing arts and music
British Library: Help for Researchers: Oral history: performing arts and music
The British Library Sound Archive holds many oral history collections covering a cross-section of those involved in the performing arts. Projects and collections include recordings with those involved in theatre, the circus, opera, ballet and jazz.
For detailed listings see: V&A THEATRE COLLECTIONS: Video Collection.
Also see detailed information in Survey and lists of those interviews relating to:
Oral History Survey Pages
Index of Projects
7th September 2010