Skip to main content
Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Paterson Audio Clip and Transcript

Paterson Audio Clip

Interviewer: Jack Sharrar

WP: A.C.T. started in Pittsburgh in the--it must have been in '65. I stopped there. I was driving a section of my one man tour. I didn't play in Pittsburgh but I drove past it twice and stopped and saw two of their shows there. I didn't get to meet Mr. Ball then but I saw him. He would make a speech after every performance asking for money. And so they did that one season in Pittsburgh, then they were on the loose for a season, playing in various places, including Ann Arbor, and then they went to California.

JS: I think they were at Stanford?

WP: At Stanford, yes. And that's where they made the connections with the people in San Francisco who'd wanted the company to move there and they started their first season in San Francisco in January of 1967, and had a short season of maybe four or five months, and then started a full season in September, and that's when I joined them in September of '67.

JS: So virtually at the very beginning?

WP: Well yeah, it had a couple of loose years before that. But it was the beginning of their time here, yes.

JS: Well, there were -- I'm trying to think of other actors who came about the same time you did who remained with the company over the years. Were there other actors who had the same kind of longevity with the company?

WP: Oh yes, of course. Peter Donat came almost the same time I did, and he was there all the time that I was there, off and on. He would go off and do other shows, other jobs. But he was part of the company for almost all those years. And there were some other people who came for a long time, Sydney Walker came, I don't know, maybe four or five years after I did and then he was there for the rest of the time.

JS: Had you performed with him in any other plays?

WP: Oh, we did lots of things together. One was a Somerset Maugham play called The Circle. We were both in that. And Sydney and I alternated for years as Scrooge. The first year that they did A Christmas Carol, I played all the performances in 1976. It was right after our tour to Russia.

©Museum of Performance + Design

William Paterson
Paterson Audio Clip and Transcript