Respondent: Colin Chambers
Aims, policies, purpose/impetus for project:
I have used interviews as a central part of my work as journalist in the 1970s and as research in writing several books, none of which itself constituted an oral history project. Of the books, I would point to The Story of Unity Theatre (1989), Peggy: The Life of Margaret Ramsay, Play Agent (1997) and Inside the Royal Shakespeare Company (2004). These books carry attributions, though there will have been people interviewed whom I did not cite. Other books have included interviews (e.g. Theatre in a Cool Climate, interview with Harold Pinter, and interview with Maggie Steed in Extraordinary Actors), but these have been published as such.
Aims, policies, purpose are different and self-evident in each case.
Dates: Each one had a different time span and all were completed by publication.
Key individuals and roles involved: Only me.
Paid or voluntary, training in oral history: N/A
Project funded by: N/A
Management of project: N/A
Format of interviews:
A few on 1980s audio tapes but overwhelmingly by use of notes, as the interviews were part of research for a book rather than as oral records.
How interviewees are selected and located:
In relation to their importance to my research for each book. Located by old fashioned means in most cases (except where I knew people, as was the case with the RSC book and to some extent, the Ramsay book as well). With Unity I relied on information from other interviewees, telephone directories, and snail mail (no email or fax then).
Interview running time:
Depends on the individual - could run up to a couple of hours.
Copyright in interviews. Assignment rights?:
They weren't asked to sign as I was not going to reproduce the interviews. I agreed to check quotations with them. Shared copyright if interview conducted by letter (ie I hold copyright in my letters and interviewees in theirs).
Location of interview copies. Accessibility to public/format:
Held by me in note form (plus some tapes) and/or correspondence. They are not accessible to the public, though the books are.
Collection contact details/website:
Interview transcripts/lists of topics or other content indexes: No.
Future plans for project/interviews?: Yes (see above).
Materials used for publications, exhibitions, conferences, radio/TV programmes or performances etc or future plans for this?: Yes (see above).
Project website: I don't have a website. Not sure if my case is relevant to this question, but am interested.
List on a joint (possibly STR) website: Yes
Join listserv/emailing list/forum: Yes
I serve on the advisory board of the theatre section of Seville University's International Centre for Working-Class Culture, and they might be interested in making connections.
[NB Unity Theatre also recorded interviews with former members: these formed the basis of the VHS/DVD The Story of Unity Theatre. SC]
List of interviewees provided: No
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Index of Projects
28th April 2009