Gill, Peter (2 of 14).  The legacy of the English Stage Company.

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  • Recording date

    2008-11-10, 2009-02-27, 2009-03-25, 2009-05-17, 2009-09-29, 2009-11-25, 2009-12-10, 2010-01-21, 2010-02-10, 2010-03-05, 2010-03-29

  • Interviewees

    Gill, Peter, 1939- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Devine, Harriet (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: [Session 2, 27 February 2009] MMG’s mother EB an invalid; MMG sent to school very young; her closeness to her younger brother; cleverness of EB; closeness of family and community. MMG’s school; her work in munitions factory in 1st World War; AK’s story of being factory foreman. Cardiff as a boom town; immigration. GJG’s mother RLG; her many pregnancies; her politics. GJG’s schools; his politics; his union membership. Women and politics; DH Lawrence. GJG’s natural feminism; division of labour in the home; lack of domestic violence [15:32]. Changing male attitudes. Women in hiding during pregnancy, decorum. Birth of sister Mary Jo Gill [MJG] when PG aged 8; not knowing MMG was pregnant; being told a baby had been born; PG’s fondness for MJG. MMG’s knack with babies. AK visiting 9 Lower Mall after birth of interviewer [HD]’s son William [1963]. MMG’s illness following birth of MJG. Stories of PG’s godfather; tradition of children staying with relatives. PG’s relationship with MJG; taking her everywhere; norm of pastoral care of younger child. Enduring friendships of BG and PaG. MJG’s cleverness; her schooling; her early marriage. MMG’s age at birth of MJG; their tempestuous relationship [30:25]. Mothers and sons. GJG’s enduring silent grief at loss of MBG. MMG’s stillborn child after birth of PG. MJG’s resemblance to MMG. Reflections on MMG’s similarity to Shakespeare’s women, Hardy’s women, free-spirited, impudent; women in today’s Hollywood films. PG’s stay with AK; contract of quality of life between AK’s house and PG’s home; PG’s awareness of MMG’s lack of domestic competence. Comments on Joe Orton. PG’s recent conversation about childhood poverty with BG. MJG at grammar school; her lack of ambition; her sympathy for old people; her work as an adult in a nursing home, and in sheltered accommodation. MJG’s marriage; MMG and GJG’s reaction; her Cardiff home; her husband Gerald; his character and background, his jobs [46:00] Their children and grandchildren; PG’s relationship with the family: Michael, Stephen, Andrew, Matthew. PG’s niece Helen, daughter of BG and wife Pat. Occasional visits to London of BG and PaG, and PG’s cousins; their ages. GJG’s one visit to one of PG’s plays; his reaction. PG’s fond memories of GJG; their conversations; GJG’s humour; childhood games, stories. GJG’s reaction to death of MMG. Reflections on familial sameness and difference. PG’s drama classes; his friend Leo’s mother’s encouragement [1:01:20]. PG’s early prospects; ability to choose a career. PG’s drama course, in Cardiff Castle; curriculum; amateur status of most teachers; Rudolf Shelley, movement teacher. Anthony Hopkins [AH]; his character; his abilities; his family background. PG and AH’s relationship; jokes and elaborate adolescent fantasies. AH’s performances at drama school. Trip to Stratford to see Alan Badel’s ‘Hamlet’. Student living conditions in Cardiff Castle; description of the castle. PG’s decision to leave the course; getting first job, an Arts Council tour [1:15:59]. PG’s London audition at Arts Council, with Frank Dunlop [FD], as Assistant Stage Manager for ‘Look Back in Anger’ and ‘She Stoops to Conquer’. Recruiting AH as second ASM. PG’s digs in Harrow; his hard work, lack of skill for job. FD’s skill as a director; FD’s training at Old Vic School [OVS]. Thoughts on the Bristol Old Vic. Story of actor Colin Jeavons comment on camp sheep. Packing scenery into van; PG’s journeys in the van. Duration and nature of tour. Staying in Hampstead with designer Riette Sturge Moore [RSM]; RSM’s literary background, her decision and training as stage designer; PG’s liking for freedom of RSM’s household. PG’s dislike of Mayfair chic. PG’s difficult transition from living at home; different rooms and flats. Job at Nottingham Playhouse; director Val May [VM], also at OVS; a more efficient director than FD [1:30:30]; FD’s inspiring ideas. Illness of all boy ASMs at Nottingham; prop-making jobs. Desire of theatres to encourage bright kids from provinces. PG’s small parts in Nottingham plays. Acting out a famous theatre joke every night after show. Description of duties during performance. Visit of Sian Phillips, PG’s relationship with her; knack of leading ladies with boy ASMs. Members of permanent company. VM’s remoteness. PG’s digs, meals. Wardrobe mistress’s house, parties. Actor Terry Scully. High quality of productions; good quality of designs; small size, and layout, of theatre [1:44:50]. Story of going home for Christmas; arriving home, leaving again. PG’s many letters home, later phone calls. Coming to London, finding a flat in Primrose Hill. Isolated period.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Peter Gill, theatre director, playwright and actor.

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