British socialist theatre 1930-1979 : class, politics and dramatic form
The field covered contains the major phases of British socialist theatre between 1930 and 1979. It focuses on the issues raised by the concept of socialist theatre, such as those of class, politics and dramatic form, in order to discuss the relationships between agendas of political tasks, the development of suitable forms for their dramatic expression, and the nature of the audiences which have been attracted. The discussion draws on a range of contemporary sources which include unpublished scripts and other material, together with oral evidence from some practitioners. The historical episodes covered begin with the career of the Workers' Theatre Movement and its successors the Unity Theatres and the Left Book Club Theatre Guild in the 1930s. It then examines how this was continued during the Second World War; and how it was affected by the political and other circumstances of the immediate post-war years. Finally it deals with the revival of socialist theatre in Britain during the 19705. The thesis is intended to contribute to the understanding of the relations between theatre, politics and the labour movement by means of an historical perspective on concrete examples. It examines the extent to which the different examples achieved the objectives they set themselves, and in so doing discusses the circumstances which have made successful socialist theatre possible in Britain during this period.