University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Creating Vital Theatre: New Voices in a Time of Transition

Cochrane, Claire ORCID: (2018) Creating Vital Theatre: New Voices in a Time of Transition. In: British Literature in Transition 1940-1960 Postwar. British Literature in Transition . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 313-330. ISBN Hardcover: 9781107119017; Online: 9781316340530

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The contradictions and faultlines embedded in the fabric of British society during the 1950s stimulated the development of the ‘new wave’ of British drama. Focusing on the years 1955-1960 this chapter considers the way this was enabled or constrained by dominant societal mores and institutional imperatives. I argue that the critical factors instrumental in retrospective canon formation have created a disproportionately limited perspective on what was achieved, in particular on the diversity of experimentation. The distinctive dramaturgical approaches of well-known figures such as Arnold Wesker, John Arden and Joan Littlewood will be explored both in relation to social realism and more radical anti-naturalistic strategies. But the chapter also highlights the way a new canon of 1950s’ drama is being constructed around the work of hitherto neglected black British playwrights such as Errol John and Barry Reckord who were the migrant products of the rapidly dissolving British empire.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: New Wave, Canon Formation, Censorship, Arnold Wesker, John Arden, Errol John, Barry Reckord, Decolonisation, Social Realism, Nation Language
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
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Depositing User: Claire Cochrane
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 12:49
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:32

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