Michael Almaz (d 2012)

October 22, 2012 UFHweb 0

Michael Almaz died on Tuesday, 16th October, 2012. Michael was one of our interviewees, Michael Almaz, and was already struggling with his health when we met him in 2010. An influential writer and director he will be best remembered for his work at the London Cafe Theatre, Leicester Square where he presented amongst other pieces, Intimacy based on a story by Satre which became the Fringe’s longest running play, The Artaud Theatre Company and The Rasputin Play produced by the Brighton Combination.

Re-creating the Fun Art Bus

October 14, 2012 UFHweb 0

ED Berman, Professor, MBE and founder of the legendary Inter-Action recreated a new Fun Art Bus in 2012, 40 years after the original bus was launched in 1972. It made its first outings to Kentish Town Community Centre and Cody Dock, Canning Town, E16 last year. Click here for further details and plans for 2013. View our recent video, an Omnibus, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original Fun Art Bus with material drawn from our interviews and existing photos (courtesy of ED Berman and Inter-Action):  


September 9, 2012 UFHweb 0

New Interviewee web pages have recently gone up for: Michael Almaz (Artaud Company, Cafe Theatre) Ros Asquith (Inter-Action, City Limits) ED Berman  (Inter-Action) Sarah Evans (Theatrescope) Julie Holledge (Broadside Mobile Workers’ Theatre, Women’s Theatre Group, Mrs Worthington’s Daughters) Annabel Leventon (La MaMa, Freehold) Libby Mason (Red Ladder, Theatre Centre) Mary Moore (designer – Women’s Theatre Group, Mrs Worthington’s Daughters, Low Moan Spectacular) Beth Porter (Wherehouse La MaMa) Coming soon: Gavin Richards (Ken Campbell Roadshow, Belt and Braces) Jan Dungey (Cunning Stunts) Patrick Barlow (Inter-Action, National Theatre of Brent) Jane Boston, Tasha Fairbanks, Deb Trethewey, Jude Winter (Siren Theatre Company)

Palatine Project

September 7, 2012 UFHweb 0

Unfinished Histories in conjunction with University of Sheffield received funding from Palatine to begin to create a learning resource on alternative theatre: online index, with selected full text versions, of articles, books, chapters, reviews etc on the alternative theatre movement in the 1960s to 80s. This project is currently in progress. For more information or if you would like to contribute go to: Palatine project.

Victor Spinetti (d. 2012)

June 22, 2012 UFHweb 0

Victor Spinetti sadly died on the 18th June, 2012. Obituary: www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/jun/19/victor-spinetti Victor took part with Sheila Allen in the animated discussion following our 40th anniversary event to celebrate Jane Arden’s 1969 play Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven, in which he played the Man. We are very pleased that the event was recorded by the British Library Sound Archives. Victor had been a key member of Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop and was a highly versatile actor whose roles included parts in most of the Beatles films alongside quantities of stage roles. A writer, director and anecdotalist, working with Ken Tynan and African-American […]

Peter Shorey (1949 – 2011)

December 14, 2011 UFHweb 0

Peter Shorey died on December 7th, 2011. Peter was very active in alternative theatre in the 1970s and early 1980s working with Cleveland Theatre Company, Avon Touring and Gay Sweatshop amongst others. He had an extensive and varied acting career working in Rep up and down the country, and more recently, seasons with the RSC, and Shakespeare’s Globe in London and on tour in the States. Peter was much loved for his appearances as Pantomime Dame, writing scripts for the pantos he appeared in at Colchester and Northampton.

Sheila Allen (1932-2011)

October 18, 2011 UFHweb 0

Sheila Allen died on 11th October, 2011. Sheila was one of our first interviewees and we greatly treasure the memories she shared with us of her life and career, in particular those relating to her work on Jane Arden’s groundbreaking play Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven, first produced in 1969 at the Drury Lane Arts Lab alongside Victor Spinetti, directed by Jack Bond. In 2009 Unfinished Histories arranged a reading of the play, directed by Jessica Higgs, which was attended by Sheila, Victor and Jack. The second half of the event was a live interview with them chaired by Susan Croft. A recording […]

Dorothy Heathcote (1926-2011)

September 10, 2011 UFHweb 0

Heathcote was an enormously important individual through both her practice  and her writings on the development of drama-in-education and improvisation and on the growth of the Theatre-in-Education movement in the 1960s and 70s in Britain. An inspirational teacher both of teachers and of students her work in the classroom developed concepts such a the ‘Mantle of the Expert’ where children, asked to take on the role of expert in classroom improvisations, stepped into the role, demonstrating new capacities for decision-making and responsibility. Through her writing –Drama as Context (1980),Collected Writings 1984 and that of others  with her (Gavin Bolton) and  about her, and her practice, […]

Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven 40th anniversary celebration event

November 8, 2009 UFHweb 0

40th anniversary reading of Jane Arden’s play Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven followed by a roundtable discussion at Toynbee Studios with original cast members Sheila Allen and Victor Spinetti, and the production’s director, Jack Bond. Jane Arden’s play was the first British theatre work to come out of the Women’s Liberation Movement when it was staged at Jim Hayne’s Drury Lane Arts Lab in  February, 1969. The event has furnished us with new and exciting documentation relating not only to the work of Jane Arden and the original production of Vagina Rex, but also that of the Arts Lab, […]

Jane Arden films on DVD

July 14, 2009 UFHweb 0

BFI launch of a box set of three films by Jane Arden (1927-1982): Anti-Clock, The Other Side of the Underneath and Separation available on DVD and Blu-ray. Jane Arden, playwright, actress, film director, is mentioned in a number of Unfinished Histories interviews, notably those with Sheila Allen (Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven) and Natasha Morgan (The Other Side of the Underneath) and the BFI used material from those interviews for the box set of films and commissioned Susan Croft to write the essay ‘Chasing Jane’ for the accompanying booklet.

Celebrating Oval House

May 7, 2008 UFHweb 0

An event celebrating the work of Peter Oliver, who ran Oval House from 1961-1974, and Kate Crutchley, the venue’s programmer in the 1980s. The first half of the evening paid tribute to the life and work of Peter Oliver (1926-2007) through a series of speakers who knew him personally. The second half took the form of a live interview with Kate Crutchley and Susan Croft using video footage from the Unfinished Histories series:  Women’s Theatre 1970s and 1980s. The event included an exhibition of material focusing on Unfinished Histories interviewees and their work alongside material on Oval House in the […]

Drill Hall launch

April 30, 2008 UFHweb 0

Launch of the completed Women’s Theatre 1970s and 1980s series of interviews, including a panel discussion with project interviewees, Lily Susan Todd and Eileen Pollock with freelance director Indhu Rubasingham and Lisa Godman, Artistic Director of Soho Theatre, and chaired by Carole Woddis. This was followed by audience discussion on women’s theatre now and then. There was an accompanying exhibition of posters, flyers, photos and scripts relating to the work of the interviewees and the companies and/or venues they worked with or ran. Copies of the series of interviews were officially handed over to the British Library’s National Sound Archives, […]

Theatre Museum Unfinished Histories

April 1, 2006 UFHweb 0

A one-off event at the Theatre Museum in April 2006 – a live oral history interview with alternative theatre director Michele Frankel, followed by a panel discussion with women active in feminist theatre in the 1970s and 1980s. The panel comprised Susie Orbach, Gillian Hanna, Jenny Harris, Sheryl Crow and Michele Frankel reflecting on their early work and examined how their experiences then continue to inform their work now. The panel discussion is available for listening at theatrevoice.com. The event was co-produced by Michele Frankel, Angie Milan and Susan Croft. Carole Woddis wrote a review of the event for the New Statesman […]