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By Andrew Davies

Dialogue of the British theatre has a tendency to target "the West finish Theatre" which emerged within the overdue 19th century. In Other Theatres, Andrew Davies offers a full of life creation to the real culture of other and experimental theatre because it has constructed over the past two hundred years. He considers a wide diversity of projects comprise Yiddish drama, suffragette theatre, Irish and Scottish drama, the repertory circulate, military theatre, Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, substitute theatre because the Sixties, and tv drama, tracing out their courting either to mainstream theatre and to each other.

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Additional info for Other Theatres: The Development of Alternative and Experimental Theatre in Britain

Example text

The extent of Britain's urbanisation was such that by the time of the 1851 census more people lived in towns and ci ties than in rural areas - decades before a similar landmark was reached elsewhere in Europe. Within these rapidly developing towns the introduction of new forms of production within factories created very different conditions of work, this division oflabour ensuring the decline of small-scale handicraft industry. The workforce now lived near to the factories, unlike their masters, and the rows of unhealthy tenements and cellars reinforced the separation between employer and employee.

5 The influx of these new theatre-goers reversed the trend which had held since the· theatres were reopened after the restoration of Charles II: drama became once more, as it had been during Shakespearean times, frequented by the majority of the nation. But unaccustomed to or unconcerned by previous modes of behaviour within the playhouse, these new working- Stage Melodrama in the Nineteenth Century 15 class audiences proved highly demonstrative. For instance when a play called The Tailors was performed at the Haymarket in 1805, a group of tailors objected with such force to what they considered to be a slur on their trade that seventy of them were arrested.

Aveling's plays never met with any success. The divorce between Aveling's writings and his practical efforts reflects yet again the absence of a strong cultural platform able to sustain forms of experimental drama. The one organisation which might have developed a suitable framework was the working men's clubs of the later nineteenth century, of which there were well over nine hundred by 1880. By 1900 they claimed a total membership ofa quarterofa million men (and a few women). The clubs functioned as places where members could come and relax after a day's work, but they also sponsored debates and lectures.

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