Audio Extracts from Interview with Norma Cohen and Guy Holland

Audio 1:

Guy: There was a policy of working for all of  the community, that was something that fell naturally with our social principle, I don’t want to say socialist principles, certainly we were all very conscientious towards the community, nurturing the community.
Norma: Also, treating young people as equals which was a pretty revolutionary notion then.
Guy: That’s right, placing children at the centre of creativity, creativity and culture, that’s true.
Norma: There’s something about communicating the material that spoke to everyone.
Guy: And I think that set our work aside, even then we didn’t patronise children, it was challenging stuff, it was emotionally nice material.
Norma: There weren’t many people working with children, apart from Theatre in Education (TIE) companies.
Guy: There were the TIE movement, there weren’t a lot of… Theatre Centre was around, we were really pioneers in that respect, doing plays for children.

Audio 2:

Guy sings:
Oh I’m the king of everything,
Has everyone got that clear?
And when I sing, you all sing,
For I am the master here.

I brought justice and the Bible to each plant and beast and bee
And they know as well as I do that they are not ready to be free
But with my cake of sunlight soap, I bring them hope
That in heaven they will be just like me.

Oh I’m the king…(repeat)
The above song was sung by Keith Rubidge in the original production

Audio 3:

Guy: As a collective, as a co-opertive, it came to a natural end and for us to succeed so long was actually quite miraculous.
Norma: And there was sort of, you could say changing leaderships and we all pitched in what we were good at.
Guy: We  all pitched in at what we were good at and we gave each other the space. We respected each other. We didn’t bicker about it, we trusted each other.

Audio 4:

Guy: It’s fair to say that I had big clashes with her [Berta Freistadt] because our artistic styles were radically different. It was certainly an argument I lost and it was my motivation to leave because I couldn’t bear the plodding… everything to the lowest common denominator- it was mediocrity manifested. It was all expressed with the play Flemmy.

Audio 5:

Guy: …it was like a magnet, became a magnet. Anything in London theatre, fringe, was automatically… when I first came to this country in 1971, you would ask people, ‘Where is  it happening?’ and people would say Oval House, and I headed for the Oval House coming from Amsterdam. That’s where I went, because as far as I knew that was the epicentre of where it was at.
Norma: He [Peter Oliver} asked me, specifically to set up loads of workshops and he suggested one or two subjects like creative play – it was his big thing – and subsequently I went on to write brochures which they very imaginatively printed, comic book style,yeah, lots of stuff…

(If you cannot play any of the audio above, you can access a non-flash version here)

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