Cribbins, Bernard (1 of 2) An Oral History of Theatre Design

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  • Subjects

    Richard Negri

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  • Interviewees

    Cribbins, Bernard 1928- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    O'Ryan, Lydia (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Bernard Cribbins [BC] recalls meeting Richard Negri [RN] at Coliseum Theatre, Oldham where RN was engaged as scenic artist spending most of time in scene dock at nearby Temperance Hall. Description of circumstances relating to working with RN as part of the Piccolo Players Theatre [PP] at Chorlton - Cum - Hardy, Manchester. Mentions Frank Dunlop [FD], Dilys Hamlett [DH], Rosalind Knight [RK], Eric Thomas [ET]. Detailed description of BC implementing RN's design ideas for transforming performance space. Short description of effectiveness of RN's design for Arthur Wing Pinero's ' The Women Have Their Way' (involving BC's wife, Gillian Charles and Jill Brown). BC comments on difference of approach to working in weekly repertory theatre between himself and those who were product of Bristol Old Vic [BOV] and London Old Vic [LOV] Drama Schools. Refers to their respect for Michel St. Denis and George Devine. BC recalls demands of production of 'Arsenic and Old Lace', mentions Avril Elgar [AE] and presence of Dame Peggy Ashcroft on First Night. BC describes RN's sense of humour. Short anecdote about visiting RN while he was recovering from an assumed breakdown. Description of demands of stage manager's [SM] job with PP's productions. Comments on RN's approach to design, mentions Shakespeare's 'Taming of the Shrew' with Lee Montague, Mike Morgan. Refers to Cilla [Priscilla] Morgan married to Clive Dunn. Mentions Dorothy Marshal, wardrobe mistress. Anecdote about two supernatural incidents at Temperance Hall, Oldham. Interviewer refers to Royal Exchange Theatre [RET] reputation for being haunted. BC comments on influence of PP on origins of RET; mentions James Maxwell, Michael Elliott, Caspar Wrede. Comments on PP's visit to Edinburgh Festival 1954 with play about Mary Queen of Scots by Joseph Chiari; mentions Catherine Lacey. Comments on RN's use of material rather than employing solid flats. Further comments on RN's personality and pressure of performing weekly rep. Remarks on costumes and hiring from Watts. BC remarks on his dearth of knowledge about RN's personal life but his resemblance in appearance to Sir John Barbirolli. Comments on dispersal of company after Edinburgh Festival production.

  • Description

    Interview with Bernard Cribbins (1928-), stage lighting designer and theatre design consultant, about the life and work of Richard Negri.

  • Related transcripts

    Bernard Cribbins interviewed by Lydia O'Ryan: full transcript of the interview (PDF)

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