This book examines the history of the Freie Volksbuhne (Free People's Theatre), Berlin, from 1890-1914, in the light of the cultural theory and practice of German Social Democracy in Imperial Germany. The clash between German Social Democracy - the party, intellectuals and workers - and the German Imperial State was played out in the Freie Volksbahne (Free People's Theatre) founded by intellectuals to energize working class political awareness of drama with a political and social cutting edge. It fell foul of state censorship, lost its bite, yet prospered. The book looks in detail at the various programmes guiding the Volksbuhne's work and at the reception of the plays by the largely working-class audience, to offer a detailed study of the interactions between cultural and political history in Imperial Germany.
Andrew Bonnelll is Senior Lecturer in History at The University of Queensland. He has studied at the Universities of Sydney and Marburg and the Technische Universitat Berlin. His publications include The People's Stage in Imperial Germany: Social Democracy and Culture 1890-1914 (IB Tauris, 2005).