The Theatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker offers the first comprehensive overview of Wertenbaker's playwriting career which spans more than thirty years of stage plays. It considers the contexts of their initial productions by a range of companies and institutions, including the Royal Court, the Arcola and the Women's Theatre Group. While examining all of Wertenbaker's original stage works, Sophie Bush's companion focuses most extensively on the frequently studied plays Our Country's Good and The Love of the Nightingale, but also draws attention to early unpublished works and more recent, critically neglected pieces, and the counterpoints these provide.
The Companion will prove invaluable to students and scholars, combining as it does close textual analysis with detailed historical and contextual study of the processes of production and reception. The author makes comprehensive use of previously undiscussed materials from the Wertenbaker Archive, including draft texts, correspondence and theatrical ephemera, as well as original interviews with the playwright. A section of Performance and Critical Perspectives from other scholars and practitioners offer a range of alternative approaches to Wertenbaker's most frequently studied play, Our Country's Good.
While providing a detailed analysis of individual plays, and their themes, theatricalities and socio-historical contexts, The Theatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker also examines the processes and shape of Wertenbaker's career as a whole, and considers what the struggles and triumphs that have accompanied her work reveal about the challenges of theatrical collaboration. In its scope and reference Sophie Bush's study extends to encompass a wealth of additional information about other individuals and institutions and succeeds in placing her work within a broad range of concerns and resonances.
About the Author
Sophie Bush is a writer-researcher specialising in contemporary theatre history and the processes of playmaking. Her doctorate, on the work of Timberlake Wertenbaker, was awarded by the University of Sheffield in 2011. She is a Lecturer in Performance at Sheffield Hallam University, and has previously taught at the Universities of Sheffield, Huddersfield and Manchester Metropolitan. She maintains an involvement with practical theatre-making, as director and devisor.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Introduction: Timberlake Wertenbaker's floating identities
Chapter One: 'Good enough to go on': the beginnings of a playwright
Chapter Two: 'They never went on quests': the gender of identification
Chapter Three: 'To speak in order to be': on language and identity
Chapter Four: Three professional perspectives on Our Country's Good
Creating Our Country's Good: collaborative writing practice and political ideals at the Royal Court in the 1980s by Sarah Sigal
Our Country's Good in Melbourbane by Roger Hodgman
Our Country's Good in the classroom by Debby Turbaner
Chapter Five: 'The longing to belong': on cultural genealogies
Chapter Six: 'Landscapes with figures in them': on pity and tenderness
Notes on Contributors
Notes and References