Oral History


>Society for Theatre Research (STR): survey of independent oral history projects on theatre

There have been quite a few independent theatre oral history projects undertaken in Britain since around 2000. Many of these were identified through a survey in 2009-10 by Susan Croft, commissioned and published by the STR .Details can be accessed by clicking here.

A number of the projects relate to the documentation of alternative theatre:
What’s Welsh for Performance?’
An Oral History of Performance Art in Wales (1968-2008)
‘It was forty years ago today…’
Locating the Early History of Performance Art in Wales 1965-1979
Alda Terracciano – PhD: Crossing Lines: interviews for An Analysis of Integration and Separatism within Black Theatre in Britain
Bill McDonnell: interviews for book on political theatre(s)
Blackgrounds and Blackstage V&A/Talawa interviews with senior figures in black British theatre
Brith Gof Archive Project
RAT Theatre Archive Project
Liverpool Everyman Theatre Archive Project
Cindy Oswin – On the Fringe
Roger Ely Performance Art/Final Academy/B2 and Zap club histories


>Society of Theatre Research

The STR have a register of individuals’ research projects in progress and of oral history projects.

See:www.str.org.uk/research/interests/index.html and www.str.org.uk/research/resources/oralhistory/responses.shtml

>Tony Coult -The Left Must Take the Right – The Interplay Archive Project

40 years work in Armley, West Leeds, by Interplay, an applied drama and community arts organisation.

1. ‘Interplay Voices’

Oral History in which the founders, and early years membership, and the young people who were  participants and audience members, are interviewed.

2. ‘Interplay Imaging’

Digitisation of the Interplay image archive from 1970-to 1975, a valuable local and social history as well as theatre history resource.

3. ‘For Everyone and Me -1970 in dialogue with 2010’

Monograph, placing Interplay’s work in social, cultural and political contexts, and relating it to Interplay now, and to current cultural and political contexts.
For further information:  www.tony3ts.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk 
See also Tony Coult’s Interviewee page.


D-M Withers ran a project to collect interviews and mount an exhibition on this Bristol-based feminist theatre group.
For further information see Sistershow Revisited: Feminism in Bristol 1973-75

>Theatre Memory
Theatre Memory is a project within the Research department at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance to create a series of filmed interviews of seasoned theatre practitioners whose experience and legacy will be ‘passed on’ to future generations; the interviews are transcribed and contextualised by biographical details. The project is led by Dr Paul Fryer, Professor Nesta Jones, and theatre journalist and Associate Researcher, Carole Woddis. For more information go to: Theatre Memory

>London Community Video Archive
This excellent resource includes lots of relevant contextual material and videos made in the 1970s and 80s including by lots of projects that were also theatre projects including Inter-Action and The Albany Empire (see Brighton Combination for history) which included the 1980s young women’s project Second Wave, two of whose films are featured. There are also new interviews with video-makers and producers about those times, some of which also related to theatre practice. See: London Community Video Archive

>The GLC Story
This project documents the history of London’s government during the 1980s  when the GLC under Ken Livingston created a climate of support including funding for cultural initiatives like alternative theatre, along with supporting local communities, Black activist projects, LGBT rights and much more. See The GLC Story


Please let us know if you would like to post information about independent oral history projects you are conducting or know of.