"AS: I’ve read also - and, Ian Richardson, you will tell me if it’s true - that the journalists often described the atmosphere at the RSC at that time as very puritanical, because I heard - if it’s true obviously - that thirteen-hour days for months in succession were not unusual, and you often had to rehearse during the day and play during the evening…?The entire archive is available here.
IR: Yes, that’s absolutely true. I wouldn’t… I wouldn’t say it was puritanical, because in those days there wasn’t the same stigma against… a Green Room which only served tea or coffee. You could actually buy a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, and they sold cigarettes and things like that. In those days practically everyone smoked, and I remember walking along the back of the stage in Stratford-upon-Avon and the smell of Guinness - which is a very strong stout ale - and cigarette smoke… Well, the unfinished drinks, not in a bottle like the children [Laughter] - young people I mean - not drunk from the bottle like young people do now - you can’t drink Guinness from a bottle, it’s too frothy - but they would be poured out into a glass and just left there with a stubbedout cigarette in a saucer, so that all along the way along the backdrop you smelt smoke, cigarette smoke and Guinness. And indeed, as I said right at the beginning of the interview, when you went onstage there were people in the auditorium who were smoking as well.
Theatre The British Library's Theatre Archive project has a precious hour long interview with Ian Richardson. This is the first part. This is the second part. Though there is also this transcript. The approach of the project is generally biographical, to capture the participant's voices for future posterity: