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Use and Interpretation of archives – theatre: Jocelyn Herbert archive.

Hogan, Eileen (2010) Use and Interpretation of archives – theatre: Jocelyn Herbert archive. UNSPECIFIED. [Creative Arts and Design > Painting
Creative Arts and Design > Book Arts & Design
Education > Research skills]
 
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Creators:Hogan, Eileen
Description:

The research concerns the various ways that artists, practitioners and students engage with archives, the concomitant impact that collections and archives can have on practice, and how collections and archives can enhance teaching, learning and research environments within higher education. Eileen Hogan focuses on her research activity with three aspects relating to archives and museum collections, The Poetry Box, The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, and The Baring Archive. This research outcome is concerned with the Jocelyn Herbert Archive. Her role in relation to Herbert’s archive is both internal within the University in an exploration of how this material can be integrated with the teaching and research methodology at UAL and external in terms of using the archive to initiate public debate to deepen understanding of the often underestimated role of the scenographer.

Lectures are part of an ongoing collaboration with the National Theatre.

Type of Research:Other
Additional Information (Publicly available):

The Jocelyn Herbert Archive

Jocelyn Herbert (1917 – 2003) was a seminal figure in postwar twentieth-century British theatre. Beginning her professional career in 1957 as a scene painter at George Devine’s English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre, she went on to become one of the most influential designers of the period and her approach altered the way directors and audiences came to view stage design, and contributed to a fundamental shift in the relationship between playwright, director and designer. Eileen Hogan was instrumental in bringing Herbert’s archive, one of the most extensive theatre design archives in the UK, to UAL. This was possible because of Herbert’s wish, despite its high value in monetary and research terms, that her archive be housed within an art school and accessible to students rather than in an institution where it would be available only to scholars in tightly controlled conditions. The positioning of Herbert’s material in CCW’s Grad School thus represents a unique opportunity to explore the potential integration of a world-class archive into the life of a practice-based university.

The Herbert Archive spans student drawings made at the London Theatre Studio in the late 1930s to the notebook she was using on the day she died in 2003, when working with Tony Harrison on his new play, Fram (later staged at the National’s Olivier auditorium, a space which Herbert helped to design). Herbert’s archive comprises over 6,000 set and costume drawings alongside related production photographs, notebooks, sketchbooks, diaries, contact books, three-dimensional stage models, ground plans, colour swatches for costumes, research materials, budgets, invoices, puppets, masks and mask moulds. Herbert’s career was characterised by long collaborative relationships with key directors, writers and actors, and her archive holds a significant – and as yet uninvestigated - body of correspondence with figures such as Lindsay Anderson, Samuel Beckett, Tony Harrison, John Osborne, Tony Richardson, David Storey and Arnold Wesker.

Eileen Hogan's role in relation to Herbert’s archive is both internal within the University in an exploration of how this material can be integrated with the teaching and research methodology at UAL and external in terms of using the archive to initiate public debate to deepen understanding of the often underestimated role of the scenographer. Herbert’s archive contains graphic and written evidence, for example, of her influence on Samuel Beckett. For the world premiere of Krapp’s Last Tape, Beckett initially asked that the character be played as a clown; Herbert’s drawings demonstrate the way she led him away from this concept of a red-nosed caricature to the portrayal of Krapp that Beckett went on to delineate in his stage directions of the published text, a personification which has since been handed down from production to production, most recently in Michael Gambon’s 2010 performance. Beckett was a frequent visitor to Herbert’s Hampshire home, Andrew’s Farm, and the archive includes a drawing she made of him whilst they were in discussion about the design for the world premier of his play, Footfalls. In the drawing, the writer is captured with his arms crossed and his hands gripping each shoulder, a pose suggestive of high anxiety. Beckett had been unaware of his posture, but on seeing the drawing, absorbed the gesture into his vision for the character that Billie Whitelaw was to play under his direction. Herbert’s costume drawings provide evidence of this transition which, again, has become integral to the performance of Beckett’s text.

A funded series of ten annual lectures commemorating Herbert and extending the debate about the scenographer’s role has been established at the National Theatre. The inaugural Jocelyn Herbert Lecture was given by Sir Richard Eyre in 2010 from the stage of the Olivier Theatre; the second will be given in November 2011. A publication will group the lectures together, and pod casts will enable viewers to play sections of the lectures themselves.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:Archive, scenography, performance, masks, Oresteia, Greek and Roman drama
Your affiliations with UAL:Colleges > Wimbledon College of Art
Date:22 February 2010
Funders:Rootstein Hopkins Foundation
Related Websites:http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/52014/platforms/the-annual-jocelyn-herbert-lecture-richard-eyre.html
Related Exhibitions:'Curtain Up on the Avant-Garde' at the Theatre Arts Department at McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas of Jocelyn Herbert’s 1977 designs for Lulu at the Metropolitan Opera (March 2011), A display of masks and photographs in November 2011 at the V & A , Participation in an exhibition and conference at The Archive of Performances of Greek & Roman Drama, Ioannou Centre for Classical & Byzantine Studies: University of Oxford
Projects or Series:Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
National Theatre, Olivier Theatre22 February 2010UNSPECIFIED
National Theatre: Second lecture29 November 2011UNSPECIFIED
ID Code:4284
Deposited By:Prerna Bhatt
Deposited On:10 Feb 2012 14:15
Last Modified:10 Feb 2012 14:15
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