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Scenes from the Revolution

Scenes from the Revolution

Making Political Theatre 1968-2018

Edited by Kim Wiltshire and Billy Cowan

An exploration of radical political theatre in Britain from 1968 to present day.
Political theatre thrives on turbulence. By turning the political issues of the day into a potent, dramatic art form, its practitioners hold up a mirror to our society - with the power to shock, discomfit and entertain.

Scenes from the Revolution is a celebration of fifty years of political theatre in Britain. Including 'lost' scripts from companies including Broadside Mobile Workers Theatre, The Women's Theatre Group and The General Will, with incisive commentary from contemporary political theatre makers, the book asks the essential questions: What can be learnt from our rich history of political theatre? And how might contemporary practitioners apply these approaches to our current politically troubled world?

Beginning with a short history of pre-1968 political theatre - covering Brecht, Joan Littlewood and Ewan McColl - the editors move on to explore agit-prop, working-class theatre, theatre in education, theatre and race, women’s theatre and LGBTQ theatre. Featuring many of the leading voices in the field, then and now, Scenes from the Revolution is a must-read for anyone interested in politics in the arts.

Kim Wiltshire is a playwright and academic who specialises in issue based theatre, especially issues around young people, gender and sexuality, through her company Laid Bare Theatre, with plays such as Project XXX and The Value of Nothing. She is Programme Leader for the Creative Writing course at Edge Hill University. She edited the book Scenes from the Revolution (Pluto, 2018).

Billy Cowan is an award-winning playwright and artistic director of Truant Company. His first play Smilin' Through, produced by Birmingham Rep was nominated for Best New Play 2005 by Manchester Evening News and his play Caretakers won the Stage Edinburgh Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016. He is senior lecturer for creative writing at Edge Hill University. He edited the book Scenes from the Revolution (Pluto, 2018).

'This is an indispensable archive of resistant performance practice, combining memoir, dramatic and critical writing. Wiltshire, Cowan, and their collaborators confront Project Austerity's culture of contempt and despair by recovering and asserting British theatre's history of critical refusal' - Victor Merriman, author of ' 'Because We are Poor': Irish Theatre in the 1990s' 'Believe that 1960s theatre making is dead duck pass? Reader, best start re-thinking. Editor/authors Kim Wiltshire and Billy Cowan forge an original and powerfully mind-bending take across 50 years of radicalised performing. Essential territory for driving future performance toward politicised hope' - Baz Kershaw, Emeritus Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of Warwick 'Recommended' - CHOICE
Introduction: A Very Brief History of Political Theatre in the
Twentieth Century up to 1968 - Kim Wiltshire and Billy Cowan
Prologue by Lyn Gardner
Scene 1: Agitprop and Political Theatre
Introduction - Kim Wiltshire
Interview with Rod Dixon (Red Ladder) and Kathleen McCreery (Red Ladder and Broadside Mobile Workers' Theatre) - Kim Wiltshire
Apartheid: The British Connection (Extract), Broadside Mobile Workers' Theatre - Kathleen McCreery
Contemporary Protest Theatre in South Africa - David Peimer
The Lost Art of Agitprop and the Return of Socialist Praxis - Rebecca Hillman
Scene 2: Working-Class Theatre
Introduction - Kim Wiltshire
Blood Red Roses at the Liverpool Everyman - Bob Eaton
Ways of Seeing: Class, Gender and the Universal, from Blood Red Roses to The Sum - Lizzie Nunnery
Plugging into History: Time Travel with John McGrath and 7: 84 - Lindsay Rodden
Scene 3: Theatre in Education
Introduction - Anthony Jackson
Farewell to Erin (Extract), Belgrade TIE Company
Interview with Tony Hughes (M6 Theatre Company) and Justine Themen (Belgrade TIE Company) - Billy Cowan
Everyone's Got a Story to Tell ... and Their Own Way of Telling It - Julia Samuels (20 Stories High)
Scene 4: Women's Theatre
Introduction - Kim Wiltshire
Interview with Sue Parrish (Sphinx) and Mica Nava (Women's Theatre Group) - Kim Wiltshire
Work To Role (Extract), Women's Theatre Group
The Work of Open Clasp and Why Women-centred Theatre is Still Relevant Today - Catrina McHugh (MBE) and Jill Heslop
Forty Years of Women-centred Theatre-Making - Anna Hermann with Kim Wiltshire
A Conversation on Sexual Assault in Theatre - Mighty Heart and Kim Wiltshire
Scene 5: Queer Theatre
Introduction - Billy Cowan
Men (Extract), Don Milligan and Nol Greig
Interview with Julie Parker (Drill Hall, 1981-2011) - Billy Cowan
Interview with Ruth McCarthy (Outburst Queer Arts Festival, Belfast) - Billy Cowan
We Who are Here Together: (Re-)making Queer Theatre - Chris Goode
Scene 6: Theatre and Race
Introduction - May Sumbwanyambe
A Tainted Dawn (Extract) - Sudha Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith
The Personal is Always Political - Sudha Bhuchar
Pokfulam Road Productions: A Political Theatre Company? - Jingan Young
Epilogue: Where Next for Political Theatre? - Billy Cowan and Kim Wiltshire
Further Reading
Notes on Contributors
Published by Pluto Press in Sep 2018
Paperback ISBN: 9780745338514
eBook ISBN: 9781786803375

135mm x 215mm