Harwood, Ronald (10 of 18)  An Oral History of Theatre Design

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  • Recording date

    2005-10-27, 2007-05-16, 2007-05-17, 2007-05-18, 2007-06-12

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Chelsea

  • Interviewees

    Harwood, Ronald 1934- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    O'Ryan, Lydia (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 10: RH’s season as dresser to DW, also work at St. Charles Hospital, Ladbroke Grove and Lyons Corner House. Comments on excellent relationship with DW, his Captain Hook at Scala theatre with Pat Kirkwood and Evelyn Laigh. Anecdote about turning down work with Stanley Holloway. Remarks on Richard Scott [RS] and work in Salisbury, also multiple roles in DW’s company including business manager; comments on difficulty of sustaining employment in theatre but refusing “the dole”; work as scene shifter with Carl Rosa Company. Circumstances relating to RH suffering from nervous exhaustion and recuperating in former Ivor Novello home, “Red Roofs”. Anecdote about DW’s knighthood and party at DW’s “Swift Cottage”, Hampshire with DW’s wife Rosalind Idi. Work at Edinburgh Festival. Anecdote about Robert Burnal and invocation of St. Theresa of Lisieux culminating in work at Evelyn Gardens, Chelsea. Offer of work from RS with Chesterfield Repertory Company leading to RH meeting his eventual wife, Natasha [NH]. Circumstances relating to employment with 59 Theatre Company. (Detail on Tape 1). Mentions Caspar Wrede [CW] and Michael Elliot [ME]. Background to gift of typewriter from NH’s father, director of Block and Anderson, culminating in production of book and play; comments on NH’s father’s generosity and help with purchase of flat in Barnes. Anecdote about circumstances leading to publication by Jonathan Cape of RH’s first novel; meeting William Plomer and details of payment. Background to eventual contract with Associated Television [ATV] and production of “Barber of Stanford Hill”after rejection by David Kossof; mentions Hugh (Binkie) Beaumont of H.M. Tenants Ltd. Anecdote about RH’s play “Private Potter”with Tom Courtenay and role of John Burke, story editor Twentieth Century Fox, in commissioning RH’s screenplay of “A High Wind in Jamaica” directed by Alexander McKendrick. Further details about nervous collapse and sense of community in theatre; mentions John Gielgud [JG]. Comments on failed relationship and issues of morality. Background of NH’s Russian family, Bobrinsky, and link to Catherine the Great and Count Orloff. Remarks on RH’s initial rejection by Bobrinsky family, refers to NH’s parents’ Wassilly and Helene and father of Wassily with surname Riehle.

  • Description

    Interview with Ronald Harwood (1934-), theatre designer. Parts 1-4 comprise an interview about the life and work of Richard Negri, as recalled by Ronald Harwood. Parts 5-18 comprise Ronald Harwood's life story.

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