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Oral History and Digitisation Project

Submitted by trustadmin on 25 May 2023

In February 2023, the Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre (Friends) made an application to Theatres Trust for grant funding, to carry out an “Oral History and Digitisation” project, effectively to capture memories of the Grand Theatre for posterity. On 11 April, we learned that we had been successful with our application and were awarded £6500 for a project that will be carried out during the coming year.

Project Team
On 10 May, the first meeting was held of a group set up to manage this piece of work, with Scott Cardwell, an Assistant Director at our City Council in the chair. He also leads the Feasibility Study working group, with the Friends full support for this project being managed as part of that wider work. Several of his colleagues will also be involved, including representatives from Doncaster Archives, as well as Sian Eagar from Theatres Trust, who will help guide us. Ian Sunderland and Ken Waight represented the Friends. A Project Manager has been appointed and she is now drawing up a structure for this piece of work.

Oral History
As part of the application, we had suggested that the project should involve recording memories of individuals who remember the Grand as a working theatre. People who maybe worked, helped out or simply attended performances there. What was it like as a working theatre? We expect that recordings will be made of individual thoughts and memories, perhaps a “talking heads” scenario, involving several people.

The other part of this project is for scanning and photographing, effectively “digitising” many of the artefacts and memorabilia relating to the Grand Theatre that remain available. We are after tangible memories available for a digitiser/videographer to capture.

It is hoped that as part of proposed “meanwhile” use for the Grand Theatre, whilst renovation takes place, there can be an exhibition or display open to the public and maybe even a viewing area into the Grand, to see restoration work actually taking place. All the digitised memories, both oral and tangible can then be played and displayed for everyone to see and experience.

Ken Waight
Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre