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Recording the History of Alternative Theatre in Britain (1968-88) through oral history interviews and the collecting of archive material
  Unfinished Histories Events 
      Autumn talks series    
      Feminism in London 
   Other events

   Supporting Unfinished Histories

Unfinished Histories Events 

Unfinished Histories Autumn talks series in conjunction with
Goldsmiths, University of London, Performance Research Forum

Dis-Play [22]:
Alternative Theatres in the UK

Oct 1stSue Parrish, artistic director of Sphinx, formerly the Women's Theatre Group, on: The Glass Ceiling, Women's Theatre
Along with directing and developing new plays Sphinx under Sue Parrish's artistic direction has led ongoing debates on gender equality and representations of women in the theatre.

Oct 8thMustapha Matura, playwright and co-founder of Black Theatre Co-op (later Nitro) on: Black Stages
Trinidad-born Mustapha Matura's first play Black Pieces was staged as part of the first season of Black British plays in 1970 at the Ambiance lunchtime theatre. In an acclaimed career his later work includes reworkings of classics The Three Sisters as The Trinidad Sisters, and The Playboy of the West Indies and numerous original plays for stage and television.

Oct 22nd: Philip Osment, playwright and Kate Owen, designer, on Gay Sweatshop and beyond
Philip Osment began as an actor with Gay Sweatshop before writing This Island's Mine  for them in 1988. He also wrote and edited the book Gay Sweatshop: Four Plays and a Company. He has gone on to write for young people and other companies, especially on issues of masculinity. Kate Owen has had a distinguished career as a designer including on This Island's Mine and other Gay Sweatshop productions, The Albany, Theatre Centre and with many others. She served on the Gay Sweatshop management board from 1984-90. 

Joy Elias Rilwan in a People Show show

Oct 29th: Mark Long & Co, fabled co-founder - in 1966 - of The People Show, plus others... on People Show: A Sum of the Imagination
Ground-breaking and inventive, key originators of cross art-form performance, inheritors of the happening, radical poetry, and the 60s art school scene, creators of a tradition of experiment and eccentricity which inspired huge swathes of the alternative theatre movement: The People Show are legend.

Further details on talks by Roland Muldoon (November 12th) and Nabil Shaban (November 26th) in our next newsletter.
The events are curated and chaired by Anna Furse with support from Susan Croft. All events are in the George Wood Theatre, Goldsmiths, New Cross at 6.15 followed by a discussion. Travel to New Cross or New Cross Gate. Further details here 
Please join us - all events are free but must be booked via email to Dafne Louzioti or by phone 020 7919 7422.
Unfinished Histories will also be hosting a book stall for the event - your chance to buy the Re-Staging Revolutions exhibition book and other publications at special prices.
(These events replace Unfinished Histories Third Tuesday Salon programme for the moment).

Feminism in London
Unfinished Histories which holds an extensive archive digital and physical, as well as oral histories, of women's theatre groups, is a member of the recently-established Feminist Libraries and Archives (FLA) network and as such will be contributing content to the Feminist Archives and Activism: Knowing Our Past - Creating Our Future session of the day-long event Feminism in London to be held at the Institute of Education, Bedford Way, London on Saturday 25th October, along with the Women's Liberation Music Archive, Nottingham Women's Centre, Feminist Archive North and others. We will also have a shared bookstall. For further details see:

Debi Withers' HammerOn Press has just published the ground-breaking The Para-Academic Handbook: A Toolkit for making-learning-creating-acting 
£18 printed copy, Open Access Download
Para-Academia delineates the area in which many of us make work, practical, critical, hybrid, marginal, resistant of appropriation by academic structures and theory while drawing out, questioning and remaking those structures and languages. "This book collects global perspectives of people who feel connected, in different ways, to the practice of para-academia. These people work alongside, beside, next to, and rub up against the proper location of the Academy, making the work of higher education a little more irregular and perverse.
Ruth Barcan, author of Academic Life and Labour in the New University: Hope and Other Choices, writes that this is an “important new book ... simultaneously a critique, a lament and a re-envisaging. It is a compelling portrait of the new topographies of higher education and a testament to the power, inventiveness and resilience of those who work within, across and beyond its new spaces”.
Gary Rolfe, author of The University in Dissent, calls the volume “a hugely important book for anyone who feels (as I often do) alienated or marginalised by corporate academic life ... " 
It is published as Open Access download from 15 September 2014, print copies available for £18 from the HammerOn site and all good bookshops. A launch event is being held on: Saturday 11 October, 3-5pm at Hydra Books, Bristol with another, details to follow, in London on Saturday 6 December. Please email for further information or to order a copy.

Review by Susan Croft
Partners of the Imagination: the Lives, Arts and Struggles of John Arden and Margaretta D'Arcy  by Robert Leach
Published by Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2012  ISBN: 9781907401756
When I studied John Arden's work at university the focus was on the Royal Court and mainstream plays as brilliant individual scripts, with much of his other work, especially his work with D'Arcy, presented as the aberrant, marginal results of his having been led astray by a crazy wife. Robert Leach's book at last returns the work of the two writers to its roots in a consistent developing political consciousness and activism and its source in their ongoing creative collaboration. So much of their work from Ars Longa Vita Brevis with Albert Hunt to the local Kirkbymoorside 63 festival to collaborations with John Fox and Sue Gill and with Roland Muldoon first presages and then influences / is influenced by the growing alternative theatre movement and becomes part of it, with Squire Jonathan and later The Non-Stop Connolly Show being performed at Inter-Action's Ambiance/Almost Free Theatre. This book presents a highly detailed, illuminating and compelling  discussion of the development of their radicalism and their work individually, such as D'Arcy's work with Galway Women's Pirate Radio Station or Arden's novels and radio plays, and together. 

Other events
After the Tricycle: Can arts organisations say ‘no’ to embassy funding?:
Tues 7th Oct 7.00-9.00 pm.Amnesty International UK Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London. EC2A 3EA. Panel discussion chaired by: Kamila Shamsie, novelist.
With speakers: April De Angelis and Tanika Gupta playwrights, Antony Lerman writer & commentator, and Ofer Neiman of the Israeli group Boycott from Within.
In August 2014, during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, the Tricycle Theatre asked the UK Jewish Film Festival to forego Israeli embassy funding. The festival refused, and very publicly walked away from the Tricycle, briefing the press that the theatre was boycotting a Jewish festival. The theatre came under immediate and sustained attack, all the way from campaigns to de-fund the theatre, via denunciations by liberal newspaper columnists, to intervention by the Secretary of State for Culture himself.
More info: 
Free entry, but reservation is recommended. There will be a drinks reception afterwards.

Meanwhile don't miss the wonderful film Pride, an uplifting, funny, moving account of the growing relationship between Lesbian and Gay Men Support the Miners and a South Wales community of striking miners, confronting the tensions and celebrating the transformations as the two groups come to make common cause in solidarity. They even travel in the borrowed van of (fictional but completely appropriate) Out Loud Theatre Company, courtesy of actor Jonathan Blake (played by Dominic West alongside Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy, who has his own alternative theatre credentials and a cast of young actors)

Women and Theatre
The Birmingham-based company are celebrating their 30th anniversary with a show called For the Past 30 Years where 6 writers tell 6 stories based on research interviews with (mainly) Birmingham based women working over 30 years in different fields: Theatre, Health, Community, Probabtion, Education and Business. Catch it at Birmingham Rep 9-11 October or go to for further details

Supporting Unfinished Histories
If you've enjoyed this newsletter or an Unfinished Histories event or exhibition or would like to ensure that we keep recording the oral histories and preserving the archive of the alternative theatre movement in all its forms, please consider making a Donation to Unfinished Histories to help us continue the work. If you would be interested in volunteering to help with events or in the office please email

Best wishes

Dr Susan Croft, Director 
Jessica Higgs, Associate Director

Patrons: Adjoa Andoh, Baroness Christine Crawley, Stephen Daldry, Tony Elliott, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Pratibha Parmar, Sir Tony Robinson, Dame Harriet Walter

Board: Danny Braverman, Tony Coult, Ness Lee, Olusola Oyeleye, Lucie Regan, Sue Timothy

Company no: 3950781 + Charity no: 1149431
If you have received this email it is because you have shown an interest in the project, had a direct involvement with it or we believe you might like to know about the work.

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