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Introducing Joan Kemp-Welch (1906-1999)

A really important, and really interesting, aspect of our work is getting a sense of some of the creative figures in the history of stage plays on television. John Wyver began the blog’s series of ‘Introducing’ posts with a piece about Fred O’Donovan, a television producer working for the BBC from 1938 to 1939 and again from 1946 to his death in 1952. Today I introduce Joan Kemp-Welch (1906-1999) who enjoyed a successful career as a stage and film actor, and then a stage director, before beginning work at Associated-Rediffusion in 1955 as one of the first women directors in television. This blog post derives most of its material from a valuable oral history recording made by the BECTU History Project and it offers us some valuable glimpses of her attitude towards adapting the plays to the confines of the commercial schedule, the enormous advantages of having been a theatre director when working on plays in the studio and and the difficulties of being a female television practitioner in the 1950s. Continue reading