Kate Crutchley (1944-2013) was a director, actor and theatre programmer at Oval House from 1981-1991. The range of work she programmed or commissioned there included Black and Asian theatre, experimental work, and especially gay and lesbian theatre and women’s work. Her work as an actress included rep at St Andrews, Wolverhampton, Bolton Octagon and roles at the Orange Tree and in the West End in The Lady or the Tiger? and in Steve Gooch’s Female Transport at the Half Moon. She also starred in the film Prostitute. As an actor and director she was part of Any Woman Can, the first lesbian play by Gay Sweatshop, and directed plays for both the men’s and women’s companies including Care and Control based on verbatim testimony about lesbian mothers’ custody struggles. Other work included directing with Women’s Theatre Group, directing at the New End, and co-producing the major Women’s Festival at the Drill Hall in 1977. With her own company Character Ladies she also staged a range of innovative women’s and lesbian work including delicious high camp spoofs and musical celebrations of the Ladies of Llangollen as well as straight plays. The College is honoured to hold an archive of material related to Kate Crutchley’s work. The collection includes:
- an extensive collection of plays submitted to Kate as director and programmer of Oval House, many of them unpublished
- prompt copies of many of the plays she directed, especially for Character Ladies and at Oval House
- video recordings of many of the shows she directed and plays like Gay Sweatshop’s Jingleball in which she appeared
Kate Crutchley was interviewed by the project Unfinished Histories: Recording the History of the Alternative Theatre Movement in 2008. For details of the project, Kate’s interview and where to view the full 5-hour interview go to: www.unfinishedhistories.com Unfinished Histories’ 2014 exhibition and book Re-Staging Revolutions: Alternative Theatre in Lambeth and Camden 1968-88 was dedicated to Kate’s memory. To order the book please click here. A detailed catalogue of Kate Crutchley’s archive is in progress. If you would like to consult material in the archive please complete the contact form below.