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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 2016 Newsletter
Our Project Now
Unfinished Histories Events
Third Tuesdays Unrehearsed Readings
            The Non-Stop Connolly Show 
            The Nine Days and Saltley Gates,
Coming Soon: Arcola Queer Collective in Unfinished Histories Benefit
Third Tuesdays: Wanted - suggestions and support

Obituary: Paddy Fletcher
Other Events:

          People Show: 50th Year
          Revised information: Action Space - Huw Wahl film
          Reminder: Les Diaboliques
Unfinished Histories Board Members Needed

Our Project Now
I began writing this newsletter when tension was high as America went to the polls and am completing it still reeling from the appalling news of Donald Trump's victory. Out of the anger, grief and horror at what that will mean for the US and the world, and the continuing division in Britain over Brexit plans and the ongoing damage of austerity, we have to come together for support and find routes to action and change.

The title Unfinished Histories recognises, among other things, that the political project of the alternative theatre movement and the radical culture of the 1970s and 80s more broadly is far from over. The need for theatre to ask questions, engage new audiences, be accessible - including in the cost of tickets and by touring to audiences in non-traditional venues, go out into communities and involve them in new kinds of work, to engage issues of race, class and gender and challenge homophobia, the exclusion of people with disabilities and xenophobia, to explore new forms and vocabularies and spaces, create new non-hierarchical working methods that actively involve practitioners and audiences in finding a voice in the work: all these things and more remain hugely pertinent and vital - and many or most have moved off the agendas of arts funding bodies, where there is still funding left. Unfinished Histories aims to record a hugely important history and to pass it on to inspire the present, through the personal stories we record in our interviews, the company practices we document on our web site, the materials we collect for our archive. Wherever possible given our limited resources, we put on exhibitions and create events: readings, discussions, talks, meetings between generations.

If you would like to get involved in helping Unfinished Histories: organising a discussion or reading or helping with other work: on making interviews accessible, organising the archive, building the web site, we would be keen to hear from you. There is work that can be done remotely as well as work at Bishopsgate on our physical archive, and elsewhere on events See next newsletter for more information, but meanwhile, do please get in touch
Susan Croft

Unfinished Histories Events

Third Tuesdays Unrehearsed Readings
The Non-Stop Connolly Show  Tues 15th November

Our autumn series of Unrehearsed Readings (every third Tuesday in the month at the Arcola) are linked to key anniversaries of 2016 and some of the alternative theatre plays that addressed them 40 years ago. We started with David Holman's TIE show No Pasaran last month, to mark the 80th anniversary of the battle of Cable Street. This month we are reading The Non-Stop Connolly Show - or part of it - it's a 24-hour epic. John Arden and Margaretta D'Arcy's 'dramatic cycle of continuous struggle in six parts' centred on the life of James Connolly, was staged in Dublin in 1975 and put on as a 24-hour staged reading at Inter-Action's Almost Free Theatre in Rupert St in 1976 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Easter Rising. We will read part of it to mark the 100th anniversary year. A full reading was staged at the Finborough Theatre earlier this year.

Book tickets to The Non-Stop Connolly Show here

With an unrehearsed reading, you come along and pick up a script, so it would good if you are prepared to read a part,  - but if you prefer you can just listen. If you book but find you can't come, please tell us as places are limited to 20 people.
Travel information here

The Nine Days and Saltley Gates, Tues 20th Dec
Next month we will belatedly mark the 90th anniversary of the General Strike, an event almost unmarked in May of this year, with a reading of the play The Nine Days and Saltley Gates byJon Chadwick and the late John Hoyland. Originally produced by Foco Novo and directed by Jon Chadwick with the late Roland Rees, the play juxtaposes scenes from the General Strike and from the same community during the 1972 Miners' Strike and the blockade of Saltley Gates coal depot. Jon Chadwick will be attending and we hope, if possible, to show original photos of Saltley Gates.

Book tickets for The Nine Days and Saltley Gates

Third Tuesdays: Wanted - suggestions and support
We are planning to continue the events into the New Year when we will have access to a larger space. If you would like to propose a play , especially one that seems pertinent to what's happening now, one you want to explore or share for the first time, one that's unpublished or unjustly neglected, please get in touch. We particularly want to hear from people who would be interested in coordinating a Third Tuesday event: not a lot of work - making sure we have copies, liaising with the Arcola, helping to promote the event and get the word out, please get in touch

Coming next year: Arcola Queer Collective in an Unfinished Histories Benefit!!
NB Date given in last month's newsletter was incorrect. It is Sunday 15th Jan at 3.00p.m.

As part of a season which will include a rare production of Mae West's play The Drag, Arcola Queer Collective will stage an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain. Unfinished Histories are co-organising an event featuring extracts from a series of LGBTQ plays from the 1950s to the 1990s.  As Gay Sweatshop was at the centre of the Homosexual Acts event we did in 2015, this time we're looking at scripts from a host of other lesbian and gay companies from Siren to Brixton Faeries, The General Will to Hard Corps. If you have scripts that were staged at the time and fit that description we would love to hear from you! The event will be staged in aid of Unfinished Histories and will be on Sunday 15th January at 3.00p.m. at the Arcola Theatre. More details and how to book next time. If you would like to help with this event, please get in touch.

Paddy Fletcher

We are very sorry to announce the death last month of the legendary Paddy Fletcher, founder of Incubus, actor, writer, director. I still remember him in my first term at university appearing as the lead singer of the proto-punk  extra-terrestrial, guerilla rock band, The Iron Jelloids in Soon Maybe Boogie, singing 'We've got cow juice fever (and down's the only place we can go).'  A celebration of his life and funeral took place on 21st October (sadly too late for the last newsletter) but we are very pleased that Paddy was interviewed for Unfinished Histories Company Links in 2013 and our volunteer Xi-Mali Kadeena and Jessica built a page for Incubus. You can find out more about Paddy on his Interviewee page. If you would like to contribute further memories and thoughts please get in touch and we will add them to the page.

Other Events

 People Show: 50th Year
1-3 December 2016
Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street E1 6AB | 020 7650 2350
To mark their 50th anniversary, People Show ( will be taking over Toynbee Studios for three days for a landmark celebration including live performances, films, music, talks and a retrospective exhibition featuring previously unseen material from People Show’s extensive archive.
Formed in 1966, People Show have been creating devised performances in theatres, in telephone boxes, on streets, even on water, for five decades, and its radically disruptive influence has made a major contribution to the current theatre landscape.
The 50th Year events offer audiences both old and new an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about the company, interact with and experience their distinctive work and be a part of the momentous anniversary celebrations.
Unfinished Histories have interviewed Mark Long, Emil Wolk (Interviewee pages pending) and Natasha Morgan and created a company page for People Show. We are also hoping to interview Jose Nava, the Mexican former fisherman who came to Britain in the 1960s and became one of the core members of People Show. His exhibition of a lifetime of extraordinary paintings, Fish Out of Water, opens at The Koppel Project at the end of the November.

Revised information!
Action Space - Huw Wahl film
We have now been advised that the screening of Huw Wahl's film about Action Space at Regent Street Cinema  is in fact on 14th December 2016. Built around a portrait of his father Ken Turner, the documentary explores the group's exploration of inflatable art and draws on the extensive archive of early film and video they recorded through the 1970s. You can book tickets here.

Les Diaboliques
- Maggie Nicol's feminist improvising group are performing in Brighton on 16th Nov. Details here

Board Members Needed
Unfinished Histories is looking to expand our Board of Trustees. If you are passionate about the need to record this vital history and make it available to new generations and think you might be able to offer Unfinished Histories time, skills, knowledge and enthusiasm - or would just like to know more about what's involved, please get in touch.


Best wishes, stay strong

Susan and Jessica

Dr Susan Croft (Director)
Jessica Higgs (Associate Director)

Unfinished Histories: Recording the History of the Alternative Theatre Movement

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, Susan Croft, Ness Lee, Olusola Oyeleye, 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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