Blog: Press cuttings – Volunteering

Page from press cuttings scrapbook - John Danworth, Cleo Laine- 1970 - Box 208
A page of 1970s press cutting from one of the scrap books the Lavant Valley DFAS work with

Pass It On has a spectacular team of volunteers who work on a myriad of different tasks, whether they are individuals working independently from home or groups working at the theatre. One of our volunteers, Charlotte Murgatroyd, tells us about her experiences as part of the Pass It On team.

It’s Monday morning. I am off to the theatre. No, not to see a play but to take part in an archiving project. The Festival Theatre (CFT), has many scrapbooks, filled with press cuttings relating to CFT as it was in the sixties and seventies. There are two teams of volunteers from Lavant Valley DFAS (Decorative and Fine Arts Society), one works in the morning and the other one in the afternoon.

We work in pairs putting data from the cutting in to an EXCEL Spreadsheet. Typical entries include the date and title of the publication from which the cutting comes, the particular production and the people concerned, followed by a précis of the whole cutting. Cuttings range from a few sentences to articles covering a page and more.

Photograph - Laurence Harvey, John Clements - 1970
Laurence Harvey, with crutches following his broken leg, talking to then Artistic Director John Clements, 1970

Well known names of the time and of the present for example Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Joan Plowright, Sir Tyrone Guthrie crop up abundantly in the notices. The drama productions, only in the summer in those days, were complemented by a series of classical and jazz concerts, again featuring international names such as Daniel Barenboim, Willi Boskovsky, Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. The chaos caused when Laurence Harvey broke his leg during rehearsals for Arms and the Man in 1970 is a story that broke worldwide.

A fascinating project, which when completed will be a useful tool for future historians.