British Theatre in the Great War

Overview

British Theatre in the Great War deals with a theatrical phase customarily dismissed by those charting twentieth-century developments. What becomes clear is that assessment by unsuitable literary criteria has masked the importance of the war years in British theatrical history. In avoiding a texts bias, the book reveals a period of unsurpassed prosperity in which the stage's substantial contribution to the war effort is only one notable feature. That it also saw the commercial theater's absorption of Continental ...
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Overview

British Theatre in the Great War deals with a theatrical phase customarily dismissed by those charting twentieth-century developments. What becomes clear is that assessment by unsuitable literary criteria has masked the importance of the war years in British theatrical history. In avoiding a texts bias, the book reveals a period of unsurpassed prosperity in which the stage's substantial contribution to the war effort is only one notable feature. That it also saw the commercial theater's absorption of Continental avant-gardeism by way of revue, the last great epoch of music hall, the rise of the Old Vic with a project in opera and Shakespeare, and the unprecedented popularity of opera everywhere--this was surely the most fruitful period of Thomas Beecham's theatrical career--is compelling argument for revaluation. In his reassessment of this period, Dr. Williams extensively examines scripts and press coverage, providing a comprehensive overview from popular pantomime to the specialist work of the private stage as well as discussion of such issues as working conditions and censorship.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826478825
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Series: Continuum Studies in Drama Series
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Gordon Williams is Reader in English at the University of Wales, Lampeter. Previous books include A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature (3 vols, Athlone, 1994) and Shakespeare, Sex and the Print Revolution (Athlone, 1996).

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Musical Comedy and Musical Anarchy
3. Pantomime and Tradition
4. Variety on the Halls
5. War and the Legitimate Theatre
6. A Classic Theatre?
7. Fashionable Audiences and the Opera
8. Conclusion.

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