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The Cambridge History of British Theatre
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  • 35 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 598 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.96 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521651325 | ISBN-10: 0521651328)

This volume explores the rich and complex histories of English, Scottish and Welsh theatres in the 'long' twentieth century since 1895. Twenty-three original essays by leading historians and critics investigate the major aspects of theatrical performance, ranging from the great actor-managers to humble seaside entertainers, from between-wars West End women playwrights to the roots of professional theatre in Wales and Scotland, and from the challenges of alternative theatres to the economics of theatre under Thatcher. Detailed surveys of key theatre practices and traditions across this whole period are combined with case studies of influential productions, critical years placed in historical perspective and evaluations of theatre at the turn of the millennium. The collection presents an exciting evolution in the scholarly study of modern British theatre history, skilfully demonstrating how performance variously became a critical litmus test of the great aesthetic, cultural, social, political and economic upheavals in the age of extremes.

• The last of three volumes looking at the turbulent public life of performance in Britain • Contains twenty-three original essays written by leading historians and critics • Includes case studies of influential productions and is fully illustrated


Acknowledgements; Chronology; List of illustrations; Part I. 1895–1946: 1. British theatre, 1895–1946: art, entertainment, audiences – an introduction Dennis Kennedy; 2. The London stage, 1895–1918 Thomas Postlewait; 3. Provincial stages, 1900–34: touring and early repertory theatre Viv Gardner; 4. Popular theatre, 1896–1940 Sophie Nield; 5. Case study: Cicely Hamilton's Diana of Dobson's, 1908 Christine Dymkowski; 6. A critical year in perspective: 1926 Steve Nicholson; 7. The London stage, 1918–45 Maggie B. Gale; 8. Social commitment and aesthetic innovation, 1895–1946 Mick Wallis; PART II. Scottish and Welsh Theatres, 1895–2002: 9. Towards national identities: theatre in Scotland Jan McDonald; 10. Case study: Ena Lamont Stewart's Men Should Weep, 1947 Nadine Holdsworth; 11. Towards national identities: Welsh theatres Ioan Williams; 12. Case study: refashioning a myth, performances of the tale of Blodeuwedd Hazel Walford Davies; Part III. 1940–2002: 13. British theatre, 1940–2002: an introduction Baz Kershaw; 14. The establishment of mainstream theatre, 1946–79 John Bull; 15. Alternative theatres, 1946–2000 Baz Kershaw; 16. Developments in the profession of theatre, 1946–2000 Colin Chambers; 17. Case study: Theatre Workshop's Oh What a Lovely War, 1963 Derek Paget; 18. 1979 and after: a view Vera Gottlieb; 19. British theatre and commerce, 1979–2000 Stephen Lacey; 20. New theatre for new times: decentralisation, innovation and pluralism, 1975–2000 Simon Jones; 21. Theatre in Scotland in the 1990s and beyond Adrienne Scullion; 22. Theatre in Wales in the 1990s and beyond Roger Owen; 23. English theatre in the 1990s and beyond Liz Tomlin; Bibliography; Index.


'… a set that will stand as the most valuable resource on British theater for some time to come. Essential.' Choice

'… exceptional … destined to prove one of the most erudite, and yet accessible, resources for theatre scholars and students as well as serious theatre practitioners … must be hailed as perhaps the most carefully compiled and comprehensively covered history ever attempted … I know of no library that has any other theatre history (focusing exclusively on British Theatre) on its shelves to challenge this great new work's pole position in the theatre reference stakes … All in all a great work.' Amateur Stage


Dennis Kennedy, Thomas Postlewait, Viv Gardner, Sophie Nield, Chris Dymkowski, Steve Nicholson, Maggie Gale, Mick Wallis, Jan MacDonald, Nadine Holdsworth, Ioan Williams, Hazel Walford Davies, Baz Kershaw, John Bull, Colin Chambers, Derek Paget, Vera Gottlieb, Stephen Lacey, Simon Jones, Adrienne Scullion, Roger Owen, Liz Tomlin

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