Howard, Pamela (9 of 11) An Oral History of Theatre Design
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2006-06-26, 2006-07-13, 2006-08-09, 2006-08-14
Various locations, London
Howard, Pamela 1939- (speaker, female)
Wright, Elizabeth (speaker, female)
Part 9: Description of childhood fantasies about the Great Wall of China; finding a poem by BB which referred to similar ideas. Assisting Helene Weigel [HW] to hang an exhibition of work by Karl Von Appen [KVA], designer for the Berliner Ensemble [BE]. How the experience with HW has influenced PH’s working practices; effect on British theatre practitioners of seeing work by BE; how BE operated; workers; staging. [0:10:40] Seeing the work of the Théâtre National Populaire [TNP] during the World Theatre season. Comments about RP as an inheriter of the Brechtian tradition. Remark about Caspar Neher [CN] as the visual inspiration of PH’s life. PH’s intention to write a book about CN. Comparison of the practices of CN, RP and PH; ‘painting pictures with people’. PH’s use of the stage as a ‘dimensional canvas’. Brecht’s influence on theatre history [00:18:15] PH’s car accident in Switzerland; how this changed PH’s route in life; decision to make her own creative work. [0:22:23] Decision to adopt children; the effects that the decision to have children can have for women; hysterectomy. PH’s oldest child Sophie, born in 1966 and adopted by PH eight months later. Adopting children of different races. Remark about drawing every day. [0:27:40] Process of adopting Sophie and Rebecca; each daughter’s ethnicity. Comment that PH is not cut out to be a mother or grandmother. Story about PH’s mother helping to look after Sophie; mother’s death. Working in theatre and having children; JHe, who also had a family. Having a husband not in theatre; leading separate lives. Sophie’s punk phase. [0:35:51] PH’s divorce in 1980; how this led to teaching at CS. Remarks about the difficulties for woman of combining work and family. Further description of Sophie as a punk; PH’s response to this. PH’s relationship with her daughters today. [0:41:33] House in Roehampton where PH lived with her daughters; PH’s determination about the type of house she wanted to live in. [0:46:49] How neighbours helped PH to combine working with looking after her children. Children’s art room in PH’s house. [0:50:29] Story about Sophie tracing her birth mother. Sophie’s continuing relationship with her birth mother; PH’s feelings about this. [0:54:59] Rebecca’s feelings about whether to contact her birth mother. The naming of Rebecca’s son, Ben Ezra. [0:56:52] Further description of PH’s feelings about motherhood; approach to bringing up children in comparison with Rebecca. [1:00:10] Feelings about life today; current work. Description of the influences on PH’s drawing; PH’s approach to drawing media. [Telephone]
Life story interview with Pamela Howard (1939-), theatre designer.