Experimental Theatre Club

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This club should not be confused with the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club of New York.

The Experimental Theatre Club (ETC) is a student dramatic society at the University of Oxford, England. It was founded in 1936 by Nevill Coghill as an alternative company to the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS), and produces several productions a year.[1]

Many famous actors and directors have been involved with productions by the club. It has staged the first productions of many new works, including Epitaph for George Dillon, written by John Osborne in 1957 and directed by Don Taylor.[2]

The club was an important nursery for the talents of the British New Wave (Kenneth Tynan, Tony Richardson, John Schlesinger, Lindsay Anderson, Ken Loach) in the 1950s, and the Oxford component of Monty Python (Michael Palin and Terry Jones) in the 1960s.

ETC was home to Oxford's student revue company, the Etceteras -- by the early 1970s a rather poor relation of the Cambridge Footlights. Then, in 1975, two figures who would together become major players in TV and film comedy met after answering an advert to join the Etceteras revue-writing team. They were Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson -- a graduate engineering student who made his memorable Oxford debut in a Leapyear Revue at the Oxford Playhouse on 29 February 1976, directed by Etceteras president, Robert Orchard. Curtis had already taken his own first bow in another show by the same director, "Allswellthatendsrock!".

ETC funded the Etceteras' first major revue in years, "After Eights" at the Oxford Playhouse in May 1976, featuring Atkinson, Curtis, Robin Seavill and others, with material written by the cast, director Andrew Rissik, John Albery, Orchard, Iain Moss and other contributors. [3] Atkinson and Curtis went on to win acclaim with the Oxford Revue at the 1976 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the rest is comic history.

(Note: The Etceteras' brief as part of ETC was to stage regular revues in Oxford, while the show performed at the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe as the Oxford Revue was produced and funded by the separate Oxford Theatre Group (OTG), which also took several plays to the Fringe. Today's thriving Oxford Revue company combines both roles.)

Alumni[edit]

People who have contributed to ETC productions include:


Visiting directors include Peter Hall[12] and Terry Hands.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oxford" The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre. Ed. Phyllis Hartnoll and Peter Found. Oxford University Press, 1996. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed 16 June 2007 here
  2. ^ Pembroke College Record, 2003—04, page 80.
  3. ^ After Eights programme, Oxford Playhouse, May 1976.
  4. ^ Lindsay Anderson.
  5. ^ Michael Flanders (1922–1975), The Donald Swann Website.
  6. ^ "Theatre Week". The Stage and Television Today: p. 12. 21 October 1993.
  7. ^ Obituary: Dudley Moore, 1935–2002, Daily Telegraph, London. March 28, 2002.
  8. ^ Michael Palin Biography.
  9. ^ John Schlesinger, Everything2.com.]
  10. ^ Samuel West information.
  11. ^ Fun Facts about David Wood.
  12. ^ Shakespeare Quarterly information, JSTOR.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Experimental Theatre Club Website