Class conflict and the myth of cultural ‘inclusion’ in modern Manchester
in Culture in Manchester
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Selina Todd’s essay is a focused study of one cultural institution – a contemporary theatre group from north Manchester, MaD theatre company. Todd examines MaD’s experience, using this case study to argue that policymakers and middle-class cultural practitioners marginalise working-class cultural production. She is as interested in cultural production as in cultural consumption, suggesting that ‘cultural inclusion’ is usually interpreted as a very specific form of limited participation, with no place for a role as producer of culture. MaD is a working-class community theatre company, founded in 1996. Its membership and audiences increased in the years up to 2009, the company performing an original play each year. Audience questionnaires show that 60 percent of the audience were local, the majority manual and clerical workers, unemployed, or students. Todd situates MaD in the context of Manchester’s history of working-class culture, and of representations of working-class life, addressing questions of culture and community and of local, national and global reach. She shows that celebrating ‘diversity’ might actually work against class equality at the local level.

Culture in Manchester

Institutions and urban change since 1850

Editors: Janet Wolff and Mike Savage


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