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British Theatre between the Wars, 1918–1939

British Theatre between the Wars, 1918–1939


Part of Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre

Maggie B. Gale, Clive Barker, John Stokes, John Deeney, James Ross Moore, Tony Howard, Ros Merkin, Mick Wallis
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  • Date Published: November 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521044509

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About the Authors
  • Histories of British theatre between 1918 and 1939 have tended to marginalize the commercial and mainstream in favour of the literary or the politically motivated. This volume brings together a collection of essays that reflect both a far more complex theatre world than this strategy has allowed for, and scholarship on mainstream and alternative theatres in the 1920s and 1930s. Combining the popular with the commercial, the book includes accounts of the craze for thriller and detective plays and musical comedy and revue, alongside analyses of historical pageantry and the development of politicized productions of Shakespeare. With assessments of the representation of gender and sexuality in the theatre, this volume not only unveils hitherto neglected theatre practices but also places them in the context of a society undergoing rapid social and cultural change. It will appeal to advanced undergraduates and postgraduates and scholars interested in twentieth-century British theatre.

    • Reveals a theatre culture more complex and contradictory than previous histories have allowed for
    • Initiates a long-overdue reassessment of mid-twentieth century British theatre cultures
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an excellent, assured, and suggestive collection of essays.' Contemporary Theatre Review

    'This anthology offers a diversity of approaches to the rich mix of the period's theatre making. I feel certain that it will, in addition, inspire readers to pull some hitherto neglected plays from their bookshelves and rediscover the richness of British drama between the wars.' Theatre Research International

    '… excellent collection … Each chapter offers an admirable overview supported by extracts from contemporary writings, either critical or dramatic, familiar or lost in time. The result is a vivid account not only of the drama on stage, but of the perceptions and preoccupations of the audience for which these dramas were written.' Modern Language Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521044509
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.413kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Notes on contributors
    Introduction Maggie B. Gale
    1. Theatre and society: the Edwardian legacy, the First World War and the inter-war years Clive Barker
    2. Body parts: the success of the thriller in the inter-war years John Stokes
    3. When men were men and women were women John Deeney
    4. Girl crazy: musicals and revue between the wars James Ross Moore
    5. Errant nymphs: women and the inter-war theatre Maggie B. Gale
    6. Blood on the bright young things: Shakespeare in the 1930s Tony Howard
    7. The religion of socialism or a pleasant Sunday afternoon?: The ILP Arts Guild Ros Merkin
    8. Delving the levels of memory and dressing up in the past Mick Wallis
    9. The ghosts of war: stage ghosts and time slips as a response to war Clive Barker

  • Editors

    Clive Barker
    Clive Barker has had a long career combining practical work and academic teaching. His ideas on actor training were published as Theatre Games in 1977. He is co-editor of New Theatre Quarterly published by Cambridge University Press.

    Maggie B. Gale, University of Birmingham
    Maggie B. Gale is Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of West End Women; women on the London stage 1918-1962 (1996) and joint editor with Viv Gardner of Women, Theatre and Performance: New Histories, New Historiographies (2000).


    Maggie B. Gale, Clive Barker, John Stokes, John Deeney, James Ross Moore, Tony Howard, Ros Merkin, Mick Wallis

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