Political theatre thrives on turbulence. By turning the political issues of the day into a potent, dramatic art form, its practitioners hold up a mirror to our society - with the power to shock, discomfit and entertain.
Scenes from the Revolution is a celebration of fifty years of political theatre in Britain. Including 'lost' scripts from companies including Broadside Mobile Workers Theatre, The Women's Theatre Group and The General Will, with incisive commentary from contemporary political theatre makers, the book asks the essential questions: What can be learnt from our rich history of political theatre? And how might contemporary practitioners apply these approaches to our current politically troubled world?
Beginning with a short history of pre-1968 political theatre - covering Brecht, Joan Littlewood and Ewan McColl - the editors move on to explore agit-prop, working-class theatre, theatre in education, theatre and race, women's theatre and LGBTQ theatre. Featuring many of the leading voices in the field, then and now, Scenes from the Revolution is a must-read for anyone interested in politics in the arts.
Kim Wiltshire is a playwright and academic who specialises in issue based theatre, especially issues around young people, gender and sexuality, through her company Laid Bare Theatre, with plays such as Project XXX and The Value of Nothing. She is Programme Leader for the Creative Writing course at Edge Hill University. She edited the book Scenes from the Revolution (Pluto, 2018). Billy Cowan is an award-winning playwright and artistic director of Truant Company. His first play Smilin' Through, produced by Birmingham Rep was nominated for Best New Play 2005 by Manchester Evening News and his play Caretakers won the Stage Edinburgh Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016. He is senior lecturer for creative writing at Edge Hill University. He edited the book Scenes from the Revolution (Pluto, 2018).
Prologue - Lyn Gardner Scene 1: Political and Agit-Prop Theatre 1. Introduction - Kim Wiltshire 2. Interview with Rod Dixon (Red Ladder) and Kathleen McCreery (Founding member of Red Ladder and Broadside Mobile Workers Theatre) - Kim Wiltshire 3. 'Apartheid: The British Connection' - Broadside Mobile People Theatre - Kathleen McCreery 4. Contemporary Protest Theatre in South Africa - David Peimer 5. The Lost Art of Agitprop and the Return of Socialist Praxis - Rebecca Hilman Scene 2: Working Class Theatre and the Work of John McGrath 6. Introduction - Kim Wiltshire 7. Blood Red Roses at The Liverpool Everyman - Bob Eaton 8. Ways of Seeing: Class, Sex, and the Universal: from Blood Red Roses to The Sum - Lizzie Nunnery 9. Plugging into History: Time-Travel with John McGrath and 7:84 - Lindsay Rodden Scene 3: Theatre in Education and Theatre for Young Audiences 10. Introduction - Anthony Jackson 11. 'Farewell to Erin' - Belgrade Coventry TiE 12. Interview with Tony Hughes (M6 Theatre Company) and Justine Theman (TiE Belgrade Theatre, Coventy) - Billy Cowan 13. Everyone's Got a Story to Tell... and Their Own Way of Telling It... - Julia Samuels (20 Stories High) Scene 4: Women's Theatre 14. Introduction - Kim Wiltshire 15. Interview with Mica Nava (Women's Theatre Group) and Sue Parrish (The Sphinx) - Kim Wiltshire 16. 'Work to Role' - Women's Theatre Group 17. The Work of Open Clasp and Why Women-Centred Theatre is Still Relevant - Catrina McHugh & Jill Heslop 18. Forty Years of Women-Centred Theatre - Anna Hermann with Kim Wiltshire 19. A Conversation on Historical Sexual Assault in Theatre - Mighty Heart and Kim Wiltshire 20. Monstrous Regiment Cabarets Scene 5: Queer Theatre 21. Introduction - Billy Cowan 22. 'Men' - Don Milligan and Noel Grieg 23. Interview with Julie Parker (Artistic Director, The Drill Hall 1981-2011) - Billy Cowan 24. Interview with Ruth McCarthy (Artistic Director, Outburst Queer Arts Festival, Belfast) - Billy Cowan 26. We Who are Here Together: (Re)-Making Queer Theatre - Chris Goode Scene 6: Theatre and Race 25. Introduction - May Sumbwanyambe 26. 'A Tainted Dawn' - Sudha Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith 27. The Personal is Always Political - Sudha Bhuchar 28. Pokfulam Road Productions: A Political Theatre Company? - Jingan Young Epilogue: Where Next for Political Theatre? - Kim Wiltshire & Billy Cowan Further Reading A Note on Contributors Index