This book provides the first detailed account of the work of the Actresses' Franchise League, taking the story of the organisation further than ever before. Formulated as a historiographically innovative critical biography of the League over the fifty years of the organisation’s activities, this book invites a total reassessment of the League within both twentieth-century industry networks and accepted narratives of the development of political theatre in the UK. Making a genuine contribution to both theatre and suffrage histories, this book looks in detail at the performative propaganda of the suffrage movement and the role of feminist actresses as activists during and after the campaign for Votes for Women. It explores the extensive networks of political and theatrical activism and social campaigning through which suffragist performers, playwrights and producers shaped their careers, and reveals how determined the Actresses' Franchise League was to be visible in public space and to create equal opportunities for women in the theatre industry. Drawing on archival material, this book shows how members and allies of the League addressed a broad range of political and social issues through their work, how they presented and represented women and womanhood and how the organisation, formed and embedded in the Edwardian period, diversified during and after the First and Second World Wars.
This monograph takes as its subject the dynamic new range of performance practices that have been developed since the demise of communism in the flourishing theatrical landscape of Poland. After 1989, Lease argues, the theatre has retained its historical role as the crucial space for debating and interrogating cultural and political identities. Providing access to scholarship and criticism not readily accessible to an English-speaking readership, this study surveys the rebirth of the theatre as a site of public intervention and social criticism since the establishment of democracy and the proliferation of theatre makers that have flaunted cultural commonplaces and begged new questions of Polish culture. Lease suggests that a radical democratic pluralism is only tenable through the destabilization of attempts to essentialize Polish national identity, focusing on the development of new theatre practices that interrogate the rise of nationalism, alternative sexual identities and forms of kinship, gender equality, contested histories of antisemitism, and postcolonial encounters. Lease elaborates a new theory of political theatre as part of the public sphere. The main contention is that the most significant change in performance practice after 1989 has been from opposition to the state to a more pluralistic practice that engages with marginalized identities purposefully left out of the rhetoric of freedom and independence.
abolished, since, according to the conventions of our times, a theatrical representation can only be the representation of a fact. We can then turn our minds to something else, and allow our hearts to swell with pride, seeing that we took the side of the hero who aimed – successfully – at finding the solution. ( ibid .)
While the ‘Avertissement’ makes no direct reference to Sartre, the entire argument of the text is opposed to his aesthetics. For Sartre, politicaltheatre is ostensibly a theatre of situations, that is, a theatre where spectators are encouraged to
Introduction: really existing democracy
What was to be the function of politicaltheatre in Poland after 1989?
Following four decades of Soviet-enforced communism, which included
mass censorship, anti-democratic bureaucratization, systemic corruption, imperialist militarization and the brutal disciplining of political
dissidents, this question formed a vital part of the ten-year anniversary
celebration in 2013 of Warsaw’s Instytut Teatralne (Theatre Institute).
This cultural institution houses the largest physical and digital archives
of contemporary theatre in
appreciation of the complexities of the suffrage campaign, scholars have
questioned the legitimacy and relevance of the League within its contemporary theatre scene and consequently under-represented its work
in theatre histories and analyses of the Edwardian period and of politicaltheatre. This is to fundamentally misunderstand the role of the League
in the campaign for Votes for Women. Scholarly descriptions of the
League as a ‘subaltern group’ perpetuate the fallacy that the organisation
was not integrated and networked within both mainstream and
’ around London
and the Home Counties, turning local auction rooms into politicaltheatre. Who
knew where these troublesome women would unexpectedly pop up next? One
Narrative: October 1909 to April 1911
exotic example was Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, a maharajah’s daughter who
lived in a grace-and-favour house at Hampton Court by the Thames. Her diamond ring was seized for tax non-payment, sold at auction, bought by a League
member and duly returned to the Princess. Indeed, all the silver teaspoons and
antique candlesticks, passed down in families and polished
is yet more active today. That was a
turning point, which drove me out of social realism, but not exactly out of
a politicaltheatre: I became very desperate to find another form, and I
wandered, rather desperately, into satire. Terence says ‘It is very hard not to
write satire’, at some stage of your life. So that was a critical moment, in
turning from the received wisdom of English theatre of the time, which
happened very swiftly. Thereafter, I think the writing of The Europeans was
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Howard Barker in dialogue with David
prominently mounted in the set, as well as popular music. In The Duel, alongside
Castorf ’s preferred rock songs (including Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix), we heard
some Austrian chansons and Eastern European classical music.
Both Ostermeier and Castorf are committed to the legacy of German politicaltheatre in the Brechtian tradition. Ostermeier studied in the directing class of
Manfred Karge, and Heiner Müller’s work was formative for Castorf. Both consider
a distinct theatral realism as a vital force to safeguard at least some political efficacy
of theatre art against the
If honour and principle were the watchwords for Caesars of the nineteenth century, and totalitarianism the core of twentieth, the word which ghosts twenty-first-century productions most clearly is 'spin'. This book traces this evolutionary journey, and discusses productions because they somehow speak to ideas about the play which characterise their period of production, or they have significant features in their own right. It first gives an account of productions of the play prior to the Second World War, right from the stagings at the Globe Theatre's in 1599 to William Bridges-Adams's productions till 1934. The 1937 Orson Welles's production of Julius Caesar, staged at New York's Mercury Theatre was decked out with all the trappings and scenic theatricality of contemporary European Fascism. Shakespeare's play becomes a forum for a consideration of an ethics of American identity with John Houseman's 1953 film. The book discusses three modernist productions of Lindsay Anderson, John Barton and Trevor Nunn, and the new versions of the play for the British TV. The productions under Thatcher's Britain are also focused as well as the unknown accents, especially the Indian and African ones. The productions of Italy, Austria and Germany productions have eschewed direct political association with past or present regimes. The book also presents a detailed study of two productions by a single company, Georgia Shakespeare. In the new millennium, the play's back-and-forth exchange between its long past and the shrill and vibrant insistence of its present, have taken centre stage.
More English than the Brits' proclaims one of the chapter headings in Michel Ciment's seminal series of interviews with Joseph Losey. Losey's life embraces a major crisis in political commitment and public tolerance (the blacklist); his career, his oeuvre, spans the most fundamental cultural confrontation of the century, between Marxism and Modernism, between progressive "realism" and the avant-garde subversion of optimism. Losey began his directorial career in the leftist political theatre of the 1930s. For Losey, as for many leftists of the period, Communism meant allegiance to the Soviet ideological model, and by extension, to Stalin's policies. The 1950s proved to be a difficult decade for Joseph Losey, a period marked by prolonged exile, the ever-lengthening reach of the blacklist and the constant fear of betrayal. The Sleeping Tiger, The Intimate Stranger and A Man on the Beach were made during his period of exile in the 1950s. There was an experimental, writer-oriented focus in Joseph Losey's later work, opening the way for collaborations on a more equal footing. Losey collaborated three films with Harold Pinter: The Servant, Accident and The Go-Between. His involvement in Secret Ceremony, Boom! and Figures in a Landscape was a case of blatant economic necessity. Most of his work directly explores and addresses the ideological interpellation of women by analysing the cultural assumptions that both construct and perpetuate it. Losey officially became a tax exile after relocating himself from Chelsea to Paris because of tax problems.