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British Theatre between the Wars, 1918-1939

Overview

"Histories of British theatre between 1918 and 1939 have tended to marginalise 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 recent 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 ...
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Overview

"Histories of British theatre between 1918 and 1939 have tended to marginalise 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 recent 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 politicised 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."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[The book] has an infectious enthusiasm for its subject and makes you want to read the plays discussed." Theater Journal

"Well-written chapters convincingly illuminate the volume's central thesis...this is a valuable volume that will serve both as an introduction for students of 20th-century theater and as a useful resource for the serious scholar." CHOICE

"Admirable...This is a work that will stimulate debate and further research." New Theatre Quarterly

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Product Details

Meet the Author

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 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).

Biography

Nothing ever begins....Nothing is fixed. In and out the shuttle goes, fact and fiction, mind and matter woven into patterns that may have only this in common: that hidden among them is a filigree that will with time become a world.

It must be arbitrary, then, the place at which we choose to embark.

Somewhere between a past half forgotten and a future as yet only glimpsed."

And here is as good a place as any to begin with Clive Barker, the author of strange and scary stories such as the novel that begins above, Weaveworld. Barker is probably best known as the creator of the Hellraiser franchise -- which began with the novella The Hellbound Heart; later became the 1987 horror classic that Barker directed; and was then a comic from 1989-1994. He accomplished the print-to-film-to-comic trifecta again with Nightbreed, the film version of which was released in 1990.

Barker drew attention with his early '80s story volumes, Books of Blood. His first novel, The Damnation Game, not only put him on a par authors such as Stephen King but earned praise from those same authors. He is widely admired for weaving into his scary stories complex themes about human nature and desires.

In addition to crafting his signature novels, a chilling amalgam of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, Barker is an accomplished artist. (His comic Ectokids is in development as a movie project at Nickelodeon.) He has also written for children -- a fact that surprises readers familiar only with his disturbing adult oeuvre. But, in fact, his children's tales (The Thief of Always, Abarat, etc.) are among his most imaginative.

No matter what his audience or medium, Barker's stories are effective because it's clear that he takes his work, and his genre, very seriously -- and expects the same from his audience. In an interview with Barnes & Noble.com, he told us "[Fantasy and horror] liberate us into a world in which our frustrations and our repressions can take an exoticized form, rendering them more safely and also, if we dare, more approachable."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 5, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Liverpool, England
    1. Education:
      Liverpool University
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Notes on contributors
Introduction 1
1 Theatre and society: the Edwardian legacy, the First World War and the inter-war years 4
2 Body parts: the success of the thriller in the inter-war years 38
3 When men were men and women were women 63
4 Girl crazy: musicals and revue between the wars 88
5 Errant nymphs: women and the inter-war theatre 113
6 Blood on the bright young things: Shakespeare in the 1930s 135
7 The religion of socialism or a pleasant Sunday afternoon?: The ILP Arts Guild 162
8 Delving the levels of memory and dressing up in the past 190
9 The ghosts of war: stage ghosts and time slips as a response to war 215
Index 244
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