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Recording the History of Alternative Theatre in Britain (1968-88) through oral history interviews and the collecting of archive material
Happy New Year!

A short newsletter this time, mainly to remind you about the: 

Unfinished Histories Benefit
Queer Plays Then and Now 1967-2017

taking place at the Arola Theatre Sunday January 15th 3-5 pm

To mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, Arcola Queer Collective is staging Queer Plays Then and Now, a series of extracts from key plays of the period, together with a new play written in responses to them by Damien Hughes.
Book Now!!

The event will include extracts from unpublished in the Unfinished Histories archive and Rose Bruford College Special Collections , as well as published work, all set within a new short play written in response to them by Arcola Queer Collective member Damien Hughes.  

Sue Frumin's Raising the Wreck was originally performed by Gay Sweatshop  and  is set in a sunken galleon where four long dead women seafarers tell a modern woman about their experience. Originally staged in 1985 the play was the first one in the company's history to have a multi-racial cast. 
Also featured will be an extract from Men by Noel Greig and Don Milligan, originally staged in 1976 by One-Off Theatre Company, an offshoot of the Bradford-based The General Will after the company had re-constituted itself as a working class-based  community theatre in 1975, with a policy of always having a majority of lesbian and gay personnel in the collective. The Arts Council's response was to remove the company's funding. Men was toured as a 'one-off' the following year and  explores masculinity through the relationship between a closeted Trade Union activist and his male partner.
Neither play has been staged since.
We also hope to present an extract from one of the celebrated Drill Hall pantos - Cinderella? Robyn Hood? The Snow Queen? See the Arcola web site as latest information is confirmed.

Building on the success of the Homosexual Acts event in 2015 that marked the 40th anniversary of the first Gay Theatre season in Britain and featured key participants, this year's event will broaden remembering, focusing on the wider LGBT theatre movement from the closets of the 1960s till today.

The event is part of the larger Arcola Creative / Disruption 17 Season
It is staged in support of Unfinished Histories: Recording the History of the Alternative Theatre Movement 1968-88 a project to record the history, gather interviews and archive material on this vital period in theatre and share it with new generations. See

Book Now!!

If you cannot come but would like to support our work, we would love you to make a Donation!  see below for further details about supporting our work

Unfortunately it was decided not to include some of the plays we originally thought would be part of the event and it is hoped to schedule these as part of our future Unrehearsed Readings programme at Arcola Theatre. Please see details in future newsletters

Re-scheduled Event

The Nine Days and Saltley Gates reading has now been rescheduled for Tues 28th February 2017 and you have 24 hours advance notice before Unfinished Histories general membership if you would like to re-book. 
To do so follow this link: BOOK NOW
This is a free event but if you want to attend you must register so we can keep track of numbers.
Also if you find that you cannot attend after all, please cancel your booking with Eventbrite or  email so we can allocate your place to someone else!

Other Theatre News

A Choice for the First of February...
Ardent Theatre present a staged reading of Philip Osment's classic play for Gay Sweatshop This Island's Mine. Originally staged 1987-88  it is 'a poetic tale of a wide-eyed young gay man who seeks refuge with his homosexual uncle, a Jewish war refugee and her beloved cat, a young interracial gay couple fighting a hostile family, and a white lesbian couple with an intolerant son.' It's at 2.30 at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, Wed 1st Feb 2017. See Ardent  to book and for further details.

Also on the first of February Clemence Dane: the Invisible Woman, a lecture by  Rose Collis on the ‘invisible woman’ of British 20th century culture: a prolific and popular writer and artist, described by her great friend Noel Coward as ‘a wonderful unique mixture of artist, writer, games mistress, poet and egomaniac.’ 
Wed 1st Feb 2017, 1 - 2pm   at  Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre London SW7  For further details see here

Hearing Things Philip Osment's new play Hearing Things is at  Clapham Omnibus  Tue 31 Jan - Sat 4 Feb 7.30pm  'drawing together the stories, dilemmas and challenges faced by the ‘healthy’ and the ‘ill’ in communities whose voices are seldom heard'. It returns following a fantastic response at The Albany Deptford. It then goes to VAULT Festival 8th – 12th Feb, 18:00, 11th & 12th Feb, 14:45
More information here 

Image: Jim Pope

Visible Theatre in Roundelay
Visible Theatre 'works with older professional actors from diverse cultural backgrounds to create exciting contemporary theatre that both represents and transcends issues of older age' Their first show, Who do we think we are, had brilliant reviews in the national press.  Roundelay a new play by Sonja Linden, directed by Olivier-award nominee Anna Ledwich, opens at the Southwark Playhouse on February 23 for a three-week run.

Roundelay is inspired by the scandal and structure of Schnitzler's La Ronde. It challenges taboos about love and sex in older age through seven interlocking stories, performed by a fabulous inter-generational cast, with a mix of drama, circus, dance, live music and aerial acrobatics.

There will also be a programme of pre- and post-performance talks and discussions.

For more information go to Visible Theatre 

Unfinished Histories currently operates on a voluntary basis, which severely limits our ability to record all the interviews we would wish, edit them and create the Interviewee web pages that give more information about them, research and create Company pages, and do the exhibitions and events that share this important history and inspire a new generation. Your Donation, however small, can help us and if you pay UK tax we can also claim Gift Aid. If you would like to make a larger donation by BACS or become a Friend, a Benefactor or an Ambassador of Unfinished Histories please contact us for more details. 

So once again Happy New Year  and hope to see many of you on the Women's March on 21st January at
12 p.m. in London. This is one of many marches across the world in response to Trump's presidency, withe the largest expected in Washington DC, and is an inclusive event. All genders are welcome.

Best wishes 

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


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