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Focusing on major and emerging playwrights, institutions, and various theatre practices this Concise Companion examines the key issues in British and Irish theatre since 1979. Written by leading international scholars in the field, this collection offers new ways of thinking about the social, political, and cultural contexts within which specific aspects of British and Irish theatre have emerged and explores the relationship between these contexts and the works produced. It investigates why particular issues and practices have emerged as significant in the theatre of this period.
Nadine Holdsworth is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick. She has published widely on twentieth and twenty-first century British theatre and is the author of Joan Littlewood's Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Theatre & Nation (Palgrave, 2010) and Joan Littlewood (Routledge, 2006). She has also edited John McGrath’s collected writings on theatre, Naked Thoughts That Roam About (Nick Hern, 2002) and his Plays for England (Exeter University Press, 2005).
Mary Luckhurst is Professor of Modern Drama and co-founder of the prestigious new Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York. She has edited A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama (Blackwell 2006) and is the author of Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre (2006), co-author of The Drama Handbook: A Guide to Reading Plays (2002), and co-editor of Theatre and Celebrity in Britain, 1660-2000 (2005). She has also edited The Creative Writing Handbook: Techniques for New Writers (1996), On Directing: Interviews with Directors (1999), and On Acting: Interviews with Actors (2002) and Playing for Real (Palgrave 2010). She is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and in 2012-13 was among 14 leading UK scholars to be awarded an international scholarship in recognition of her outstanding contributions to theatre pedagogy and research.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
Notes on Contributors x
Nadine Holdsworth and Mary Luckhurst
Part I National Politics and Identities 5
1 Europe in Flux: Exploring Revolution and Migration in British Plays of the 1990s 7
2 'I'll See You Yesterday': Brian Friel, Tom Murphy and the Captivating Past 26
3 Black British Drama and the Politics of Identity 48
D. Keith Peacock
4 Northern Irish Drama: Speaking the Peace 66
Part II Sites, Cities and Landscapes 85
5 The Production of 'Site': Site-Specific Theatre 87
6 Staging an Urban Nation: Place and Identity in Contemporary Welsh Theatre 107
7 The Landscape of Contemporary Scottish Drama: Place, Politics and Identity 125
Part III The Body, Text and the Real 147
8 The Body's Cruel Joke: The Comic Theatre of Sarah Kane 149
9 Physical Theatre: Complicite and the Question of Authority 171
10 Verbatim Theatre, Media Relations and Ethics 200
Part IV Science, Ethics and New Technologies 223
11 Theatre and Science 225
12 From the State of the Nation to Globalization: Shifting Political Agendas in Contemporary British Playwriting 245
13 Theatre for a Media-Saturated Age 263