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November 29, 2013
Writing about web page http://journals.qmu.ac.uk/index.php/IJOSTS/article/view/159
I’m very pleased to say that I have had my first academic work published in a peer reviewed journal, IJOSTS 5.2. The International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen approached me about publishing a piece I wrote for my MA in theatre consultancy; an external examiner edits the journal and contacted me after graduation as he thought it would fit nicely into the journal. The essay was a history of the Close Theatre, a club theatre studio attached to the Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow which opened in 1965 and burned down in 1973. Despite having worked in Glasgow for five years, including many times at the Citz’, I had never heard of the Close until a chance remark from Andy Arnold. I though it sounded interesting and decided it would be fun to look into and there was very little written about it.
I had a great time researching the Close. I found a lot of good general material including several books about the Citz’. The British Library had a number of commemorative booklets and articles which gave me some contemporary accounts on the theatre and its development, but the best resource was the Scottish Theatre Archive at the University of Glasgow. The STA keeps an impressive archive of programmes, posters and memorabilia of Scottish theatre and houses the archives of many theatres in the country. I was lucky that the Citz’ had placed all of the minutes of the board with the STA. These were nothing short of a goldmine and I spent two fabulous days scouring the transcripts from the late ‘50s to the late ‘70s for information on the Close. There was some lovely detail here, but without context it had little meaning. The background work gave me commentary from contemporaries which was added to when I interviewed Giles Havergal whose period a the helm of the Citz’ ran from 1969, the final years of the Close. I was also lucky enough to come across an unpublished piece in the Tron theatre archive charting the formation of that space as a direct response to the demise of the Close.
What I was not prepared for was the peer review process. Ouch! It was my first experience and it felt brutal. I had a lot of comments back from two reviewers. Some I had already picked up on during my final MA dissertation like writing in longer paragraphs to assist the flow and group thoughts. Other comments showed up my deficiencies more clearly. I had not established the context of British and European theatre at the time and I completely failed to acknowledge the importance of the Lord Chamberlain in the establishment of a club theatre or the significance of the closure of the office under the Theatre’s Act of 1968. I smarted a bit from the comments but knew there was only one way forward, to voice my gratitude for the comments and get on with writing an improved article. I’m grateful now that I did. The essay is much better and I learnt a lot a long the way and I have been saved from the embarrassment of inferior publication.
I’m keen to write more for publication, but for now I guess I’d better get on with some PhD research.
You can find the article on the Close here http://journals.qmu.ac.uk/index.php/IJOSTS/article/view/159
The STA collection is well worth a browse at http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/specialcollections/collectionsa-z/scottishtheatrearchive/