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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.
From early 1982 to graduation in June 1984 I used a Sony Betamax kit to video undergraduate life at Oxford University.
The 18 tapes and some 40 hours of content I am digitizing includes:
- The Oxford Union Debating Society (featuring Hilali Noordeen) The day I was in the Union Chamber I was sitting next to Susanna White and Steve Garvey who were shooting a documentary about ‘Women in Oxford’.
- The Oxford Theatre Group at the Edinburgh Fringe (Featuring all the plays: 13 Clocks, The Hunger Artist, Edward II, Titus Alone directed by Patrick Harbinson, produced by Nicky King and the Oxford Review)
- I shot this over three weeks while helping out behind the scenes at St. Mary’s Street Hall (the OTG venue) and kipping in a Free Mason’s Lodge by the Castle. Nicky King and Matthew Faulk edited in my Balliol Room (now the Oxford Internet Institute) cum edit suite the following term.
- The Oxford Student Union elections.
- The Lightweights Boat Crew in training with David Foster et al (11th March 1983)
- Torpids (various)
- Romeo & Juliet (in which I played Mercutio and lost my pants during the fight scene)
- The Taming of the Shrew: an OUDS production (in which I played Baptista) And the rehearsals.
- Abigail’s Party (directed by Anthony Geffen)
- Various other plays and boat crews
- The May Day Celebrations 1982
- Training for the Oxford Students Union president
- Oxford Television News (Various episodes of OTN in which Hugo Dixon does a Jeremy Paxman and we are introduced to the Chicken Pal Society at the Gate of India + TCG, PWG and CJP) (9th May 1983)
- OTN. Visit of Prince Charles (18th May 1983) + ‘Exter guy in glasses’ or is this in fact a Jesus guy doing a ‘party political broadcast’.
- Oxford University Boxing
- A workshop on how to shoot video (10th February 1983)
- A corporate promotional film for the language school ‘Speakeasy’
- The Oxford & Cambridge Varsity Ski Trip to Wengen
- perhaps a play produced by Tessa Ross directed by Clive Brill
- perhaps Andrew Sullivan directed by Alex Ogilvie in ‘Another Country’
- and perhaps the Women’s Eight.
and various other antics around Balliol College and the university that will reveal themselves in the course of being downloaded, graded and digitized.
I believe my aim should be to use this as the foundation for a documentary.
I need to raise £2000 to digitize/archive this content and am therefore looking for backers.
P.S. It is six weeks since I was behind a camera. I may be about to shoot some swimmers for a swimming e-learning app but if you have anything immediate let me know.