It Was 40 Years Ago Today

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Winner of the David Bradby TaPRA Award for Research in International Theatre and Performance 2011.

postcard project


If you have any information on performance in Wales that could be of use to the project, please get in touch!

Whether you are an artist who has made performance work in Wales, or an audience member who once witnessed a performance (voluntarily or involuntarily!), we would be pleased to hear from you.
Any material will be of interest - from actual pieces of documentation to vague memories of events caught out of the corner of one's eye.


Project Director:
Heike Roms
Research Assistant (2009-2011):
Rebecca Edwards
Dept Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University

Professor Heike Roms
Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies
Aberystwyth University
Parry-Williams Building, Penglais Campus
Aberystwyth SY23 3AJ, UK
phone: (+44) 1970 - 621911 (direct)
departmental secretariat: (+44) 1970 - 622828
fax: (+44) 1970 - 622831

Steering Committee:
David Alston, Arts Council of Wales
Ifor Davies, Cardiff
Sioned Davies, Cardiff University
Arwel Jones, The National Library of Wales
Adrian Kear, Aberystwyth University
Mike Pearson, Aberystwyth University
André Stitt, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

Funded by:

AHRC logo with link to website

Each year the AHRC provides funding from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. Only applications of the highest quality and excellence are funded and the range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please see our website

Aberystwyth University Logo and link to website

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved
All content within this web site is protected by copyright pursuant to international conventions, and other copyright laws as a collective work and/or compilation. No part of this web site including text, coding, layout and graphics may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without the prior written permission of 'What's Welsh for performance?'.

Images on this site are reproduced for the purposes of research and study only. Whilst every effort has been made to trace the Copyright holders, we would be grateful for any information concerning Copyright of the images and we will withdraw them immediately on Copyright holder's request.

What's Welsh for Performance? Beth yw 'performance' yn Gymraeg?

"It was forty years ago today...":
Locating the early history of performance art in Wales

:interviewees :keywords :access :cymraeg

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Description of interview project and principles of compilation

This major research project combines a number of methodological approaches, most notably extensive archival research, complemented by a series of oral history conversations.

The project subjects the resulting archival documentation and oral testimonies to a comparative reading in order to examine their respective usefulness for an understanding of past performance practice. Such a reading helps to reveal the complex manner in which memory interacts with archival remains in constituting our knowledge of the past.

The project has drawn on three distinct oral history interview approaches to solicit recollections of past performance events:

1. Single interviewee conversations

Interviews focussing on a single interviewee have addressed the interconnected histories of artists or arts administrators and their work within the particular context of Wales in the 1960s and 1970s. Single interviewee conversations were recorded on audio only.

2. Group interviews

Group interviews in the style of a “witness seminar” have allowed for multi-perspective views on a particular set of happenings or circumstances. These interviews have reunited participants around a shared event or series of events, location or body of work. Group interviews were recorded on video.

3. “In-situ” interviews

In-situ interviews have taken artists, arts administrators or technical staff back to the locations where they made or witnessed performance work. Such locations have acted as prompts for an investigation of the contextual and institutional aspects of performance. “In-situ” interviews were recorded on video.

Click here for an 8-minute documentary film on the in-situ interviews made by Culture Colony. [© Pete Telfer]

4. Public Interviews

Between 2006 and 2008, Heike Roms conducted a number of public oral history conversations, under the overall title of "An Oral History of Performance Art in Wales". Please see here for further details.

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Please refer to the individual interview pages on this site for audio and video extracts and transcript summaries.

To find out how to access the full recordings please click here.

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Note: The project has followed Oral History Society guidelines on ethical conduct. For more information see: