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Title: The Royal Court Theatre, 1968-1975 : fraught and fruitful years
Author: Healy, Susan Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 9821
Awarding Body: University of Lincoln
Current Institution: University of Lincoln
Date of Award: 2018
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From the establishment of the English Stage Company at The Royal Court Theatre in 1956 through to the late 1960s, the Court was widely viewed as a champion of theatrical freedoms and progressive ideals, playing a decisive role in the abolition of censorship as exercised by the Lord Chamberlain until 1968. Narratives of the ensuing 1968-1975 period tend to recount an era when the Court was out of step with contemporary developments in theatre and blame is frequently placed on intergenerational tensions between the Court's established management and a band of emerging English male playwrights who claim to have been unsupported by the theatre at this time. This study goes against the received scholarly grain concerning these years at the Court, and maps an alternative reading of this narrative. This thesis provides evidence that the Court of the early 1970s experienced a time of significant seed-sowing, that these were years in which the Sloane Square institution experimented with alternative theatre and enthusiastically programmed subaltern and female playwrights, and that this was a move instep with contemporaneous international trends in theatre. By revealing this understanding of events, the thesis contends that the artistic directorship of Oscar Lewenstein (1972-1975) was a direct reaction against an elitist culture at the Court and an institutional habitus which was rooted in and informed by the decline of the British Empire and a related fear of the foreign. This thesis proposes that the subsequent occlusion of this version of events is due in great part to the consistent and ongoing privileging of negative accounts of the period by the emerging young white English male playwrights of the era, over the more positive commentary provided by their subaltern and female counterparts who were empowered under Lewenstein's aegis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W440 Theatre studies