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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Modern Popular Theatre

ISBN 9780230368958
Publication Date July 2016
Formats Paperback Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave
Series Theatre and Performance Practices

This book offers a concise history of popular theatre since the early twentieth century. Using key popular culture theories and critical perspectives, Jason Price analyses popular theatres across different cultural and political contexts, drawing on a diverse range of international artists and theatre-makers who have worked with popular forms, including Vsevolod Meyerhold, Blue Blouse, Bertolt Brecht, Erwin Piscator, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Bread and Puppet Theatre and more.

As well as defining what 'popular' means in relation to performance and the audiences who watch it, the book considers some of the political frameworks and causes that popular theatre has been placed in service of, such as socialism, the New Left and the gay rights movement. It also addresses the uses of cabaret, puppetry and circus outside their native popular contexts, examining the role they play in avant-garde and experimental theatre practices. In doing so, Price encourages readers to look beyond popular theatre as a simple form of entertainment and to consider its potential as a form of political activism, as a community-builder, and as a valuable tool for artistic experimentation.

Jason Price is Lecturer in Contemporary Theatre and Performance at the University of Sussex, UK. His research interests lie in the areas of popular performance and theatres for social change; in particular, his work is often concerned with performance and social class, theatre as community and public engagement, and the wider politics of performance.

1. Introduction
PART I: THE REVOLUTIONARY IMPETUS 2. Popular Revolutionary Theatres I: the Soviet Union
3. Popular Revolutionary Theatres II: Germany 
4. The Workers' Theatre Movement I: Starting Points, and Germany
5. The Workers' Theatre Movement II: Britain and the USA
INTERMEZZO: THE POPULAR AND THE AVANT-GARDE 6. Rejuvenation and Resistance: Popular Forms and the Avant-Garde
8. The Popular in Postmodern and Contemporary Performance
9. Conclusions.


A thoroughly useful volume of carefully compiled and intelligently discussed material. In tracing a lineage from the socialist working class theatre of the early twentieth century to contemporary examples such as Forced Entertainment, Jason Price makes an important contribution to debates about popular theatre.' – Oliver Double, University of Kent, UK
'Jason Price's Modern Popular Theatre offers a necessary alternative theatre history for the last century, one that focuses on the important lineage of politically engaged theatres, the many practitioners, performance works, and theories that make up this genealogy. He foregrounds the disparate ways all are in conversation with the contested notion of 'the popular'.' – Claudia Orenstein, Hunter College, CUNY, USA
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