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Oxford Theatre Group – Oxford Review Rehearsals
Julia Lane, Nigel Williams, Chris Jones, Humphrey Bower. Dir. Patrick Harbinson. Rehearsal at the theatre or in the Masonic Lodge?
What follows is the log sheet for 17 recently digitised Sony Betamax tapes of content shot in and around Oxford University in 1982 and 1983. Includes the Oxford Theatre Group on the Edinburgh Fringe (performances and rehearsals) and the Oxford and Cambridge Ski Trip to Wengen, as well as numerous boat crews, other plays, student union, and union activity … and much more.
Tapes were recycled … often recorded over several times, this explains how and why there can be such an odd mixture of material on any particular tape. We also did a commercial job for a language school and made our own ‘TV Commercials’ to feature in Oxford Television News. We also provided a video recording service to producers: so covered many plays, individual boat crews, hustings, even the boxing club … and more, that may or may not appear in excerpts on these tapes.
As I (Jonathan Vernon) kept a diary (and still do) I could in time identify events and many of the people to particular days and places. The kit was used by a number of people, in particular Christopher Powles, but also Ian Singleton and Mike Upton.
Tape No. Main content feature. Apparent running time.
1 Japanese Language School 34 mins
Abigail’s Party. Director Anthony Geffen
Simon Hudson with ?
1b An Oxford Play. “Another Country” with … Andrew Sullivan in the lead, with parts played by Niall Ferguson, Matthew Crampton, Matthew Faulk and (Rupert Wainwright?). Directed by Alex Ogilvie. 1 hour 20 mins
2a Prince Charles visit with Harold Macmillan … and CJP used in ‘Oxford Television News’ 14 mins
2b Chicken Phall society CJP Recorded for ‘Oxford Television News” OTN 20 mins
2c KallKwik Oxford and Student Travel Adverts recorded for OTN 12 mins
3 BLANK ?
Outside Balliol College, Oxford in the rain. 1st May 1983
Richard Davey, Simon Spence, various Balliol undergrads?
4 May Day in the rain 1983 Richard Davey, Simon Spense et al The rain finished off the recorded, ending video production in May 1983. 40 mins
Jonathan ‘Video’ Vernon in his rooms on Staircase XI, Balliol College
David Foster, Lightweights – video’d several training sessions and the race from the water. Also Woman’s VIII.
5 Band ‘Roaring Boys’ ?? Some Play. Arts Festival at the Playhouse? Various. Oxford Language School 2 hours
6 OTN Roger Highfield’s wife Julia ? to camera OTN, various interviews on Oxford Union politics. Episode of OTN. JVs Balliol Room, varsity skiing.
Various OTG cast and crew: From top left to right. Patrick Harbinson; Nicky King and Dave Tushingham; Nigel Williams. Humphrey Bower. Roger Miles and various tech/stage hands and crew. Carrie Jones (Gracie), Titus Alone dress-rehearsal including Humphrey Bower, Jack Latimer, Roland Allen and Stefan Bednarczyk … ending on Chris Jones and Julia Lane in the Oxford Review.
6b Oxford Theatre Group– Edinburgh Fringe 1982: Indoor rehearsals. Carrie Gracie. Oxford Review rehearsals . Patrick Harbinson. Stefan Bednarcyk. 1 hr 40 mins
Nicky King covering Edinburgh in Posters
7 The Oxford Theatre Group on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1982 with copyright music and Nicky King voice over. Set up, all productions, wrap Titus Alone rehearsals on Arthur’s Seat. Carrie Gracie. St Marys Hall. 46 mins
8 Oxford and Cambridge Ski Trip, Wengen mid-December 1982. 1.45
Jonathan Vernon (Baptista) Rehearsals for ‘Taming of the Shrew’ Summer 1982
9 Rehearsals for an Oxford University Drama Society (OUDS) production of Taming of the Shrew – featuring Jonathan Vernon as Baptista. Guy Hudson in the lead. At Trinity College 3 hours 35
10 Student Travel News ... OTN, Hustings, interviews. Student Play “Abigail’s Party” at the Oxford Playhouse. dir Anthony Geffen 2 hrs
11 OTG cutaways Heathrow Airport Mathew Faulk’s car and Vicki Laing 43 mins
12 Various: 22 mins
00:00 – 09:35 Oxford Language School – three different tutors one to one, rushes, Japanese
09:00 Oxford Colleges. (cut aways) St.Annes? Trinity. Modern Architecture. Rhodes Library. Engineering. The Broad.
The director and producer of ‘The Labours of Hercules Sproat’ (Written by Niall Ferguson)
Matthew Faulk and Alex Ogilvie.
12:20 – 15:54 Matthew Faulk and Alex Ogilvie. Pranking outside Balliol College, or Wadham?. Matthew and Alex mucking about for the camera – Alex a rabbit, Matthew shoots him with his walking stick.
15:54 Radcliffe Camerra and Balliol College ‘stills’. Some characters, including moments of Caroline Milnes and Wayne Henderson.
13 Various: 00:00 to 58:00 Windsurfing 1980s How to boardsail. Infovision. X
00:58 – 01:03:34 OTG 1982 bright theatre rehearsals. Edward II Stefan B + lead. Julia ? as female lead. Part of OTG at the Edinburgh Fringe, 1982
01:03:34 – 01:07:36 On stage, brightly lit, rehearsal of?? Glass, animal costume – someone as a lion? And a policeman? Patrick Harbinson. Part of OTG at the Edinburgh Fringe, 1982
01:07:36 Edward II indoor rehearsals again … Tall Canadian actor? nit yielding to any upstart. Part of OTG at the Edinburgh Fringe, 1982
Dress Rehearsal of Titus Alone, directed by Patrick Harbinson. OTG at the Edinburgh Fringe, 1982
01:13:17 01:24:05 OTG rehearsal. On stage. Bright. Weird costumes. Fancy dress. With Roland … more Titus Alone?
01:24:05 Interior rehearsal. Julia … Part of OTG at the Edinburgh Fringe, 1982
Thirty years ago I took a Sony Betamax kit to the Edinburgh Fringe and shot all the action around the Oxford Theatre Group as they set up, rehearsed then put on five productions: Titus Alone, Edward II, The Thirteen Clocks, The Oxford Review and The Hunger Artist.
The clips above are random grabs from the video. The playback quality suffers from drop out. There are several hours of rushes – putting up the stage, putting up posters around town, rehearsals in a sunlit hall for Titus Alone and the Oxford Review, and rehearsing Titus Alone outside on Arthur’s Mount. The cut ‘documentary’ features several copyright music tracks that I need to replace before the entire video can be shown, for now those featured can view by providing their email address.
For three decades the original Betamax tapes have been in a box, carefully stacked, in an attic or garage.
Nicky King, who produced Titus Alone wrote and voiced the ‘documentary’ with Matthew Faulk the editor – all achieved mixing between a Sony Betamax and VHS player.
I’m keen to put together the complete crew and cast list – I had or have programmes and posters somewhere in a large box.
The above include:
Patrick Harbinson, Nicky King, David Tushingham, Nigel Williams, Humprey Bower, Mark Ager, Rebecca Rosengard, Jack Latimer, Carrie Gracie … Stefan Bednarczyk.
Other productions I have from Oxford include: The Taming of the Shrew (OUDS) – hours of rehearsals, Abigail’s Party (Directed by Anthony Geffen) – the entire production, as well as various clips from other Oxford productions I am yet to identify.