YouTube’s Theatre Treasures: Laurence Olivier interviewed by Kenneth Tynan

Here’s another treasure from my occasional rummaging around the dusty corners of the cyber-storeroom that is YouTube. Today’s nugget is an interview from 1966 – Kenneth Tynan interviewing Laurence Olivier.

The recording lasts just over 45 minutes. Do stay with it through the rather pompous opening fanfares, and you’ll find a really interesting and candid discussion with one of our greatest actors about his career, chances, upbringing, and successes.

Kenneth Tynan, who interviews Olivier, was the Literary Manager of the National Theatre at the time of this recording. Tynan, a writer and critic who liked to make waves from his first appointment – at the Evening Standard – in 1952. His collected reviews are often interesting and incisive pieces. A fan of the New Wave, John Osborne et al, Tynan’s barbed retorts against cosy theatrical fare are crackling pieces of disdain in his reviews of this material, and, frankly, are something of a delight to read in themselves. (A particular favourite of mine is his demolition of Anna Neagle in one of the plodding historical productions she starred in, “Sixty Glorious Years” who, when she sang, Tynan described as “Shaking her voice at the audience like a tiny fist”….)

Tynan was made Literary Manager of the new National Theatre Company in 1963, at which time they were still operating out of the Old Vic Theatre. It is fitting that this interview starts on stage at the Old Vic, with a view of the auditorium, with an informal Olivier, with the interview transitioning to the studio later on.

I hope you enjoy it!

With Thanks to YouTube poster Roman Stryan


Lambeth’s “Dodgy” Theatrical Past explored in new online talk

Interested in Music Hall, history and scandal?

That’s most of us, then!

Well, you won’t want to miss out on watching Jon Newman’s talk LAMBETH’S THEATRES: THE OLD VIC AND THE REST, which takes us on a vivid, whirlwind tour of Lambeth’s unlicensed theatres of the 19th Century.

Gathering its material from the extensive Lambeth Archives, the talk takes place online on Thursday 4th February at 7.00pm GMT.

You need to book to attend, by emailing archives@lambeth.gov.uk and requesting access to the online talk.

Hope to “see” you there!


Bristol Old Vic’s A MONSTER CALLS

Available now is The Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic co-production of A MONSTER CALLS.

“‘Stories are wild creatures’, the monster said. ‘When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?'”

Thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum have managed just fine since his dad moved away. But now his mum is sick and not getting any better. His grandmother won’t stop interfering and the kids at school won’t look him in the eye. 

Then, one night, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. It’s come to tell Conor tales from when it walked before. And when it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears.

Adapted from the critically acclaimed bestseller by Patrick Ness, and directed by Sally Cookson (Peter PanLa Strada), this Olivier Award-winning production of A MONSTER CALLS offers a dazzling insight into love, life and healing.

GUIDANCE: Suitable for ages 10+ Contains themes of terminal illness, death and grief. Use of haze, strobe and loud sound effects

The show lasts approximately two hours. The show is available until Friday 12th June at 6pm.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to Bristol Old Vic – or – making a donation to the Old Vic in London to enable them to keep operating after this crisis has passed.

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