Connellan, Patrick (1 of 9)  An Oral History of Theatre Design

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  • Recording date

    2006-08-23, 2006-08-24, 2007-07-25

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s Home, Coventry

  • Interviewees

    Connellan, Patrick 1961- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Wright, Elizabeth (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Patrick Connellan [PC], born Hammersmith, London, 1961 in a specialist hospital; brought up in Suffolk, East Anglia. Mention of having pyloric stenosis soon after birth. Father was a school teacher, then a head teacher and is part-Irish. Mother is Danish, was an interior designer / architect who came to England in 1953. Meeting of parents at a ball. Two sisters: Lise [LC] and Katrina. LC lives near to PC in Coventry and works as an art book editor. Mother’s name Bente Yuhl and father’s name Anthony Connellan; all of PC’s grandparents are deceased; the family is small; mention of three cousins in Denmark; PC’s three children. [0:02:43] Paternal grandparents; mention that grandfather died in 1984 and grandmother in 1991; her death shortly after the birth of PC’s eldest son. Grandparents worked in banking; mention that father had a brother who died; father’s unhappy upbringing. Description of father’s parents. Mention that father joined the Navy and fought in the Second World War: comments about father not going to university. Father was well-read and studied at the Open University; his work as a farmer after the war and then a teacher; mother’s liberating influence on him; her artistic background. Mother’s parents, civil servants from the suburbs of Copenhagen; recently seeing the house where she grew up. Mother’s upbringing was happy except for the death of her father when she was nine; her involvement in the Danish resistance during the War; her fighting spirit; mention that she now has Parkinson’s Disease. [0:07:29] Grandparents’ home in Essex; visits to their house; description of the house; how time was spent there. Grandmother’s reasons for marrying; her reaction to PC’s arrest; description of her appearance; her makeup. Description of grandfather’s appearance; mention that he was in the cavalry in the First World War; Battle of Paschendale. Father’s recording of grandfather’s war experiences; grandfather’s political beliefs; pacifism. Mention that PC is a Revolutionary Socialist. Grandfather’s attitude to clothes; PC’s sense of dress. Routine at grandparents’ house on Sundays; long silences. Comments about being a vegetarian today. Mother’s Danish cooking. [0:24:57] Father’s relationship with his mother; admiration for father. Grandmother’s name, Winifred Claire Connellan née Scott; her preference for her middle name; nickname. Grandfather’s name, Frank Connellan. Grandmother’s attitude to mother; mother’s accent; romantic view of the world. Description of mother’s dress; grandmother’s reasons for disliking her. Description of father’s appearance. [0:34:57] Story about how PC’s parents met; father’s proposal. Talking at family mealtimes; not having a television until 1969. [0:40:04] Father’s education; his prep school in Morden; his journey to school; his family’s move near to Grays in Essex, where father went to Rutlish School where he learnt sailing and was taught to box; his disinterest in sport; mention that he tried to teach PC to box. His songs learnt from school and the Navy; rude jokes; swearing; his one remaining school friend. Mention of father’s violin playing and interest in musical instruments; his character. [0:45:55] Reasons why father’s family moved around; grandmother’s relationships; grandfather’s cars; PC’s interest in old cars; story about car promised to PC by his grandfather; owning an old Mercedes; driving this car; further comments about grandfather’s cars. [0:52:18] Father’s route from school into the Navy; mention that he briefly worked as a clerk for an oil refinery before joining the Navy as an Officer; story about him leaving H.M.S Sheffield before it was torpedoed; his experiences in the Mediterranean after the liberation of Italy; his interest in opera in Italy; his stories of military action; his love of the sea; his stories about being on a rat-infested boat; PC’s phobia of rats; other stories. [0:58:58] Mother’s family; her brother, Sven; mother’s upbringing in the suburbs of Copenhagen; her school, a “gymnasium”; physical education there; father’s comments about mother and sense that she was indulged as a child; her experience of war, including hiding Jewish people in their house; her stories about the war including air attack on the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen; attitude to the Royal Air Force and her esteem for English things; liberation of Denmark; mother’s patriotism. [1:06:28] Servants in mother’s childhood home; food including pastries and drinking chocolate; comparison with ‘Babette’s Feast’; sources of wealth in the family. Mother’s childhood home; mother’s friend who lives next door; inheriting furniture from the house.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Patrick Connellan (1961-), theatre designer.

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