26 May 2011
Post-war theatre interviews online now
Eva del Rey, Curator of Drama and Literature Recordings, writes:
The Theatre Archive Project is a collaboration between the British Library and De Montfort University, although the partner for much of the project was the University of Sheffield. The project reinvestigates British theatre history 1945-1968, from the perspectives of both theatregoers and practitioners.
Since the project began in November 2003, recordists - mainly University of Sheffield students - have conducted more than 250 interviews with those visiting or working in the theatre during the period. Almost all of those audio recordings and transcripts are available on this site. More are still being added.
Actors interviewed include Linda Bellingham, Bernard Hepton, Glenda Jackson, Murray Melvin, Joan Plowright, Corin Redgrave and Dudley Sutton.
Writers include Trevor Griffiths, Peter Nichols, Ann Jellicoe, Ann Piper and Arnold Wesker.
In addition there are interviews with theatre managers, producers, directors and designers, plus - giving a valuable non-professional perspective - many interviews with ordinary theatregoers.
The interviews with theatre professionals reveal their first encounters with the theatre, aspects of their work practices and the process of becoming a professional in what were often difficult circumstances. The interviews with theatregoers provide a contextualization of the productions and their reception by the communities at the time and in retrospect.