Aims, policies, purpose/impetus for project:
While the official history of the National Theatre is largely documented in the NT Archive the institutional memory of the theatre is borne by a generation of staff who worked during the formative years of the theatre. Little has been documented concerning the working practice and sense of community that evolved in the theatre: this more intimate history can be found in the recollections of staff and former staff from generations that have begun to vanish. An oral history project could capture these memories and in the process strengthen the theatre's sense of its history, its distinctiveness and direction, and the sense of loyalty the theatre has generated amongst its staff.
Dates: Started 2007, ongoing
Key individuals and roles involved
Two. Gavin Clarke (Archivist/engineer/interviewer) and Rosemary Beattie (Project Officer/interviewer). Wider group consulted on setup of project regarding selection of long list of interviewees.
Paid or voluntary, training in oral history: Paid and trained.
Project funded by: Core departmental funding
Management of project: By the theatre.
Format of interviews: Uncompressed audio - wav
How interviewees are selected and located:
Long list of interviewees selected at start of project based on attempt to cover wide range of roles and professions. Short list created based on availability, health, distance… Theatre maintains contact with many former staff through through Box Office, friendships, details on file...
Interview running time: 2-10 hours
Copyright in interviews. Assignment rights?:
NT holds copyright, form allows interviewee to set access restrictions
Location of interview copies. Accessibility to public/format:
Collection contact details/website:
Interview transcripts/lists of topics or other content indexes:
This is planned for next phase of project, June 2009
Future plans for project/interviews?:
Yes, development of a web resource and transcripts, expansion of project to consider NT audience.
Materials used for publications, exhibitions, conferences, radio/TV programmes or performances etc or future plans for this?:
Recordings have contributed to lecture programmes run at NT Archive and will be made available for future publications and broadcasts.
Project website: To be developed in 2009.
List on a joint (possibly STR) website: Yes. Interested to hear more about STR site and very open to sharing information.
Join listserv/emailing list/forum:
Yes, though I think this would be better managed by Oral History Society than STR as they could pool technical and practical advice relevant across many subject areas.
Interviews usually held in NT Sound Studio, occasionally in home of interviewee or at NT Archive. Master recordings are held as uncompressed digital files and backed up on DAT tape, listening copies provided as MP4 files accessible via the National Theatre's Digital Archive system in the NT Archive; web resource to be developed in 2009.
List of interviewees provided: Yes
Kenneth Mackintosh (Actor, Staff Director)
Rosemary Beattie (Stage Manager, Company Manager)
Ernie Hall (Stage Manager)
Angela Bissett (Stage Manager)
Rob Barnard (Sound, Head of Stages)
Judith Coke (Actor)
Sarah Kestleman (Actor)
Rosalind Knight (Actor)
Stephen Greif (Actor)
Richard Managan (Stage Manager, Curator)
Anna Cartaret (Actress)
Kevin Leeman (Head of Music)
Oral History Survey Pages
Index of Projects
13th May 2009