Since the Second World War, we have witnessed exciting, often confusing developments in the British theatre. This book, first published in 1976, presents an enlightening, objective history of the many facets of post-war British theatre and a fresh interpretation of theatre itself.
The remarkable and profound changes which have taken place during this period range from the style and content of plays, through methods of acting, to shapes of theatres and the organisational habits of managers. Two national theatres have been brought almost simultaneously into existence; while at the other end of the financial scale, the fringe and pub theatres have kicked their way into vigorous life.
The theatre in Britain has been one of the post-war success stories, to judge by its international renown and its mixture of experimental vitality and polished experience. In this book Elsom presents an approach to the problems of criticism and appreciation which range beyond those of literary analysis.
Introduction; 1. Language and money 2. Actors, stars and changing styles 3. Well-made plays? 4. The search for self 5. Breaking out: the angry plays 6. How the West End was (nearly) won: the playwrights of the early 1960s 7. Brecht: cool ambiguity 8. The Arts Council and its influence 9. Fringe alternatives 10. National aspirations 11. Many roads, few maps 12. Climate and language; Index