Respondent or information from other source:
Jessica Higgs, Artistic Director In Tandem TC, collaborating with writer/historian/curator Dr Susan Croft
Aims, policies, purpose/impetus for project:
To document the alternative theatre movement in Britain in the1960s, 70s and 80s through recording extensive oral history interviews on high quality audio and video with key practitioners and collecting/identifying archive material and taking measures to preserve and find appropriate homes for archive material.
To raise awareness of the history of the alternative theatre of this period and encourage its further documentation, in particular by those involved.
Unfinished Histories began at an inaugural event at the Theatre Museum in April 2006. It is an ongoing project, having launched and completed a first phase of interviews, it has now embarked on a further phase.
Key individuals and roles involved:
Project directors are Susan Croft and Jessica Higgs
Paid or voluntary, training in oral history:
When there is money, fee-based pay. Yes both have received training and have worked on earlier oral history projects.
Project funded by:
Grants from Foundations and Trusts and individual donations. Also funding for launch events from Awards for All
Management of project:
By In Tandem TC, Company Limited by Guarantee
Format of interviews:
Video on mini DV transferred to DVD
Audio WAV recorded on Marantz solid state recorder transferred to DVD
Both given basic edit to remove fluffs/ interruptions
How interviewees are selected and located:
Identifying practitioners central to the area being covered. Some are known personally to project directors, both of whom were themselves involved in the movement, others identified through associates or via agents We have also established an Advisory Board to give suggestions and support to the project.
Where possible interviewees are recorded in their own homes.
Interview running time:
Varies between 2 - 5 hours. We emphasise lengthy interviews which do not follow a strict agenda and allow interesting connections to emerge, trace the development of careers through a number of companies and areas of work and explore the personal and political roots of an individual's work.
Copyright in interviews. Assignment rights?:
Copyright is with the interviewee and In Tandem TC. Interviewees sign permission forms assigning rights
Location of interview copies. Accessibility to public/format:
Initial 14 interviews (on Women's Theatre in the 1970s and 80s) are at the British Library's National Sound Archive, V&A Theatre Collections and Bristol University Theatre Collection, where the paper collections complement the interview content.
Sets of video and audio DVDs. New series of interviews will be lodged with British Library's National Sound Archive, V&A Theatre Collections and at least one other location, outside London
Interview transcripts/lists of topics or other content indexes:
There is a detailed topic list for each interview with timings, held with each set of interviews.
These will be published on the project web site
Interviews will be catalogued by Collections at NSA, V&A and Bristol
Future plans for project/ interviews?:
We hope to record a further 50 interviews over the next two to three years. A website will be launched in 2009 which will include information about the interviewees and their interviews, and biographies of companies, individuals, venues and events from the period. Discussions are in progress with various venues about their hosting an extended version of the exhibition (see below)
Materials used for publications, exhibitions, conferences, radio/TV programmes or performances etc or future plans for this?:
Posters, programs and photos were shown as an exhibition in support of to launch events for our collection of interviews with women from the period at the Drill Hall and Oval House Theatre.
List on a joint (possibly STR) website: Yes
Join listserv/emailing list/forum: Yes
As a result of the project a series of earlier audio interviews (See brief entries below) by Natasha Morgan, was uncovered and lodged with NSA. Also archive material on companies covered in the project has been lodged with the V&A, with Bristol and other discussions are in progress.
List of interviewees provided Yes
Phase 1 Sheila Allen c3hrs Jude Alderson 1.5hrs Kate Crutchley c3hrs Anne Engel c3hrs Michele Frankel 1hr Bryony Lavery 2hrs Ruth Mackenzie 1.5hrs Natasha Morgan 5hrs Julie Parker 2hrs Eileen Pollock 4hrs Jacqueline Rudet 1.5hrs Adele Salem c3hrs Lily Susan Todd c3hrs Michelene Wandor c3hrs Phase 2 so far
Noel Greig 4hrs Hilary Westlake 4 hrs
Oral History Survey Pages
Index of Projects
21st April 2009