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Half Moon theatre to make archives public

The Half Moon theatre in 1979. Photo: Gordon Harris The Half Moon theatre in 1979. Photo: Gordon Harris
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Frances de la Tour, Simon Callow and Steven Berkoff are among actors who will share their experiences working at east London theatre Half Moon for a new heritage project.

The company’s archives will be made public for the first time as part of its Stages of Half Moon programme, which has received £46,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Young people working with the theatre will conduct both research and interviews with local residents and theatre professionals, including De la Tour, Callow and Berkoff, whose testimonies will be recorded for the archive. Guy Sprung and Michael Irving, who helped found the theatre in 1972, will also be included.

Former artistic directors Robert Walker and Chris Bond have also agreed to contribute to the project, as well as actor Josie Lawrence.

In addition, Half Moon’s youth theatres will also recreate and perform some of the plays developed at the theatre.

The company’s director Chris Elwell said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of so many of the theatre’s fantastic alumni, which will allow us to explore the important history of Half Moon theatre and share it with a new generation.”

He added that the theatre would be working with local young people and organisations to “ensure that the local community are involved with the life of the project and our theatre”.

Half Moon is now looking for old programmes, posters, photographs and artefacts from the theatre’s 43-year history.

Anything discovered will be added to the theatre’s archive, with plans to tour the collection as an exhibition as well as digitise it for viewing online.

Stuart Hobley, head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said the archive meant a “new generation will be able to discover for themselves the innovation that characterised the theatre during its heyday”.

The archive will be made public in 2016.

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