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Recording the History of Alternative Theatre in Britain (1968-88) through oral history interviews and the collecting of archive material
November 2012 Supplementary with details of a further job, more the Unfinished Histories Christmas Quiz / Benefit Night and News

                  Christmas Quiz Benefit Night

                  Heritage Lottery project: Unfinished Histories Company Links:
                                   - Further Post: Web Site Co-ordinator
                                   - Volunteers
                                   - Office Space
                                   - Blog


                  Events (Pantos)  
                                 -  Bubble Theatre
                                -  The Darlings

                 Other Events
                              - Music and Liberation exhibition
                              - Carib Theatre Company
                              - The Argument Room
                              - Jenny Harris

                 News from Subscribers
                             - Roy Kift                


Don't forget any donations large or small are always welcome. If you can't come to Chats Palace you can always donate by Paypal via the web site. Many thanks.

Heritage Lottery-funded Project: Unfinished Histories Company Links

Unfinished Histories are seeking to make a further appointment for this project:

that of Website Co-ordinator

Website Co-ordinator
We are looking to appoint a Website Co-ordinator to work with us on our Heritage Lottery funded project, which will be developing the Companies web pages on our website (see Companies) and mounting a touring exhibition in the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Camden. Ten volunteers are being recruited to work with practitioners from the alternative theatre
movement to construct their company’s web pages and, from the material gathered, create an exhibition that will show their stories within the broader context of the alternative theatre history. The Website Co-ordinator will work specifically on the creation of the web pages with
the volunteers. The new web pages will be launched at the Exhibition, opening in November 2013, touring to three venues.
The job requires:

  • excellent skills in writing and proofing text
  • Web authoring skills using WordPress
  •  Audio and video editing skills
  • Database / Excel skills
  • The ability to communicate well with Volunteers of various ages and levels of experience and to work one-to-one with them on developing material

This is a freelance contract. Fee: £5,500
For further details and how to apply go to Jobs
Deadline 6pm, 7th December 2012

Volunteers - we are still looking for people interested in being Volunteers on the project. 

This role might appeal to you:
• if you were active in the alternative theatre or alternative culture at that period and now have time on your hands,
• if you are looking for a new career direction and are interested in curatorial work and theatre history, or
• if you are starting out in your career and want to develop skills, knowledge and experience in this area.
See Volunteering for further details

Originators - and we are also still 
keen to hear from Originators, those who were involved in forming alternative theatre companies with some connection to Lamebth or Camden between (roughly) 1968 and 1988 who would be interested in working with a volunteers to ensure the work of the Company is properly archived and its history told through a Web page on the Unfinished Histories site and through an exhibition. If you would like to take part you can find out more via the links above or please email us at

Office Space
Unfinished Histories is seeking office space
EITHER 2 days use a week in an existing office -desk space plus some  lockable storage
OR a reasonable priced self-contained office
OR a part-share of an existing office.
Must be within easy reach of London N16/ N15 and easily-accessible by public transport

When we begin the Unfinished Histories Company Links project in January we will be creating a blog as part of the web site, where  Volunteers, Originators and others involved can contribute their thoughts, document their working processes and so on.
Keep your eyes on the Unfinished Histories web site. More in the next Newsletter 

Unfinished Histories is now on Facebook, so if you are a user, you can Search for us there and then share our page with any Facebook Friends.
We are always especially pleased to hear from those involved in the alternative theatre movement back 'in the day' but also any new discoverers.


It's panto time!

Bubble Theatre supporters have, by popular demand, selected from the Bubble's panoply of possible past pantos: 
Red Riding Hood and The Wolf 

The script will be given a performed reading at the third of their birthday celebration events.
It involves Ruby (Pui Fan Lee) and her dog Marrow (Robert Stephenson) travelling into the forest to try to persuade Granny (Simon Thomson) to come home and re-build her relationship with her daughter Bet the Vet (Mojisola Adebayo).
'Inspired by early Bergman and the omnibus edition of EastEnders, and taking in scenes beneath the tree and in the wolf’s stomach, this was a grizzly, rich and ridiculous experience'. So as they embark on the task of  finding the script, recalling Tom Johnson’s tunes and dusting off the slop table, friends and supporters  are asked to BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW
An animated reading of Red Riding Hood and the Wolf will take place on Sunday 6th January at 4pm at Bubble HQ.
'It’s twelfth night and if you can squeeze in another mince pie and glass of mulled wine (or non alcoholic alternative) these will be included in the ridiculously reasonable, austerity-busting January sale price of £5 per ticket.
The event will also see the opening of the 1990s section of the Bubble archive, featuring memorabilia from the promenades, pantos and projects from the third decade of Bubble.
We can only squeeze a limited number of people in for the event, so please do book in advance.
You can book ONLINE or by giving us a call on 020 7237 4434.

Meanwhile in North London...

Anyone who remembers the legendary lesbian pantos of the 1980s that managed to foreground the inherent gender confusion of the genre, undermine the heterosexist gaze and be fabulously sexy, silly and hilarious...  
(Cinderella: the Real True Story or Robin Hood and Her Merry Men at the late-lamented Drill Hall, Fanny Whittington and her Fabulous Pussy at Ovalhouse...) can relive those days as: 
The Darlings 
London's Lesbian Community Theatre Troupe present 
Peta Pam by Sally Cooper
Adapted loosely from JM Barrie's Peter Pan
Directed by Barcy Cogdale
Wendy Darling is young and full of life. She has been brought up on the stories of Peta Pam, told to her by her sweet-natured Mummy Darling. So when Wendy meets Peta and Tink, she longs for them to take her to their fantastic island called Well I Never Land. There are mermaids and pirates and singing crocodiles not to mention the glorious Tiger Lily and the dastardly Captain Hook. Wendy is keen to explore and to experience a world that sounds like a fairy tale. And to understand her mother's secret. Peta Pam and her dear friend Tink are beginning to feel their age. An adventure with Wendy Darling is the last thing on their minds. It's no fun fighting pirates and sleeping in a tree trunk with the Lost Lesbians when you have a clicky hip. But why does Peta Pam fly to Wendy’s window each night? Has Tink mellowed with age? And will the Lost Lesbians ever be brave enough to defeat the Pirates and their own fear? Who knows?
To find out - book your tickets NOW to avoid disappointment!
Performances: Karamel restaurant  6, 7 & 8 December & 13, 14 & 15 December
Show 8pm Tickets £8 in advance (£10 on the door)
Dinner available from 6.30pm - to book a table please call Karamel on 020 8829 8989 and visit for the menu.

Other Events

Music & Liberation
Don't forget to go and see the excellent Music & Liberation, an exhibition about Women’s Liberation Music Making in the UK (1970-1989), curated by Debi Withers, now open at at the Space Station Sixty Five, Building One, 373 Kennington Rd, London SE11 4PS 30th Nov- 16th Dec and 10th- 13th Jan 2013 Along with music, it features brilliant posters, artefacts, songbooks, T-shirts, oral histories and much more. It shows how feminists used music as an activist tool to entertain and empower women during the 1970s and 1980s and, like the alternative theatre movement, questioned everything: Should feminists making music aspire to career success to reach as wide an audience as possible or would that entail capitulating to the norms of the commercial music scene?  Should the music be be technically polished and accomplished or was that alienating to other less professional women needing to find a musical voice? Among the highly accomplished bands featured are Jam Today, the Northern Women’s Liberation Rock Band, Feminist Improvising Group, Ova, the Fabulous Dirt Sisters, Abandon Your Tutu, the Mistakes and many others, including Siren, Clapperclaw and Sadista Sisters, who were simultaneously bands and theatre companies. There is also a CD for sale, an ideal Christmas present. For more information including details of events including the Queer Zine Festival and a talk by The Gluts go to: WLM Archive
Carib Theatre Company are presenting a Rehearsed Reading of SWEET TALK  by Michael Abbensetts
Directed by Anton Phillips on Sunday 9th December 2012 at 5.00pm at Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR
'This reading of  Michael Abbensetts’ seminal first play is staged in honour of Michael’s contribution to the canon of Black British plays for the stage, and in recognition of the tremendous impact his television series Empire Road and The Little Napoleons had on the early presence of black faces on British television screens.
Michael’s recent ill health has affected his ability to write and has, perhaps, brought his distinguished career to a premature end. This reading will present an opportunity for friends and well-wishers to gather at the Tricycle Theatre to pay tribute to him.   All proceeds will go towards his ongoing care.
A  £10.00 donation would be welcome.
Carib thanks the Tricycle Theatre, whose very first production, Samba, was written by Michael, for their support, along with Errol Lloyd, Yvonne Brewster, and the Royal National Theatre.

The Argument Room
The Argument Room is a monthly interactive debating forum streamed live on the Internet.
Convened by Co-Director of Rideout Theatre Chris Johnston, its primary concerns are the arts and social justice. Future sessions in late Jan / early Feb are planned looking at Women's Theatre,  Live Art/Experimental Theatre and Social and Community Theatre including one where Susan Croft, Director of Unfinished Histories will be a contributor to the debate.
Go to the web site for access to forthcoming debates, email alerts and archived debates including the most recent:
BUSTED! Commercial and professional imperatives profoundly limit the evolution of ensemble theatre practice witin the UK.
Contributors include: Mary McCusker, Gillian Hanna, Niamh Dowling, John Britton, Matthieu Leloup-Bellon, Duska Radosavljevic and Tim Etchells.


Jenny Harris
We were deeply 
saddened to learn of the death of Jenny Harris on 6th November. She had been suffereing from stomach cancer.
Founder with Noel Greig and Ruth Marks of the Brighton Combination (see Noel's interview) a centre for theatre, film, music and community arts and a cafe, in an old Victorian school in Brighton, with a touring political theatre company, producing shows like The NAB Show  (National Assistance Board) and Michael Almaz's The Rasputin Show, she then brought the Combination to its new home in Deptford, building a bold centre for popular art and performance and social engagement in this run-down area of London's former docklands. Surviving a fire that may have been the work of the fascist Right, it was rebuilt, under Jenny's direction, as The Albany Empire, still thriving today. She moved on first to Circus Senso and then to head up the Education department at the National Theatre, building it into a thriving hub of activity at the heart of the organisation. She went on to pioneer a whole range of arts and regeneration projects. She will be sorely missed. A memorial event is planned for next year and we will publicise details when we hear them. Meanwhile see Richard Eyre's Obituary in The Guardian and Jenny's own site for more.

News from subscribers 

Roy Kift, whose plays Mary Mary and Genesis were notable successes with the Freehold Company in the early 1970s, and whose plays were also presented at the Almost Free Theatre, Oval House and Theatre Royal Stratford East
amongst others, has had a huge success ("a masterpiece", "electrifying", "grabs you by the throat") with the World Premiere of his holocaust play "Camp Comedy" in Legnica, Poland. The production opened at the end of September 2012 and will be guesting in Warsaw in January 2013. For more, google 
Camp Comedy. Roy Kift has been living in Germany for the past 30 years.

Best wishes for Christmas, Solstice, Hannukah, Yule, Winterval or whatever takes your fancy

Unfinished Histories

Director: Susan Croft, Associate Director: Jessica Higgs
Board - Danny Braverman, Vanessa Lee, Carole Woddis

Unfinished Histories Ltd Company number: 3950781. Charity number: 1149431
Reg address: 19A Ravensdale Road, London N16 6TJ


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