In his earlier article, ‘Poaching in Thatcherland: a Case of Radical Community Theatre’, (NTQ34, May 1993), Baz Kershaw explored the work of the regional touring group EMMA during the 1970s, looking in particular at the quality of ‘performative contradiction’ which enabled it, for example, to make a subversive political statement within the ostensibly safe ambience of a play steeped in rural nostalgia. Here, he explores other paradoxes of that era of burgeoning alternative and community theatre activity in the years before Thatcher, assessing the role and the ‘hidden agenda’ of the funding bodies, and analyzing and contrasting the working methods, aims, and resources of two of their very different clients – the ‘national’ fringe company Joint Stock, and the small-scale ‘reminiscence theatre’ group, Fair Old Times. Although both groups were engaged in the ostensibly radical and oppositional theatre practice which eventually led to their closures, there was, notes Kershaw, an increasing tendency by the funding bodies to judge the work of the latter by the more amply endowed standards of the former. Baz Kershaw, who lectures in Theatre Studies at Lancaster University, wrote for the original Theatre Quarterly on the work of Fair Old Times's ‘parent’ company, Medium Fair (TQ30, 1978), and has put the present studies into a broader context in his most recent book, The Politics of Performance: Radical Theatre as Cultural Intervention (Routledge, 1992). He is co-author, with Tony Coult, of Engineers of the Imagination (Methuen, 1983), a study of Welfare State, and has also contributed to Performance and Theatre Papers.