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Title: East End Jewish involvement in Unity theatre and post-war British entertainment : a study of second generation identity
Author: Seddon, Isabelle
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 0540
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is the first study of second generation Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who took part in left-wing political theatre groups in the first half of the twentieth century. Much activity was centred in London's East End and this thesis will explore how seeds were sown there. Although there has been research on Jewish participation in traditional theatre, little has been done on Jewish involvement in ground breaking theatre. A background will be given on Jewish history in the East End, Yiddish theatre and Jewish interest in East End theatres and music halls. This, together with Jewish involvement in left-wing politics, will explain the attraction to join Unity. Unity provided an entrance for Jewish actors into the entertainment industry, including Lionel Bart, Alfie Bass, David Kossoff and Warren Mitchell, who will form the heart of this thesis. They became famous for their 'Cockney' persona without denying their Jewishness. They have been chosen to show their different pathways out of the East End and Unity. Their biographies will not stand alone but looked at as a collective biography. The study will consider their families' background to see if this impacted their Jewish identity and political involvement, and how they defined themselves in order to be portrayed as Cockneys. On the surface, in spite of their common background and time at Unity, they had little in common. Their political affiliations ranged from radical to non-involvement and there were differences in the portrayal of their masculinity. Yet they were unified by identifying themselves and being identified as Jewish Cockneys by both Jews and non-Jews. The thesis will look at changes that occurred during the interwar period resulting in their confidence to be able to identify as Jewish Cockneys in the post-war era, and to be accepted as such in non-Jewish society.
Supervisor: Kushner, Antony ; Jordan, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available