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(Re)constructing Political Theatre: Discursive and Practical Frameworks for Theatre as an Agent for Change

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2015

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In 2015 the concept of live performance as having efficacy to instigate political change is contested, yet some politically motivated performance has demonstrably facilitated change, and critical frameworks have been developed that account for performances that hold clear political stances. However, even where arguments exist for the enduring relevance of political performance, certain models of practice tend to be represented as more efficacious and sophisticated than others. In this article, inspired by her recent experiences of making political theatre, Rebecca Hillman asks to what extent prevalent discourses may nurture or repress histories and futures of political theatre. She re-evaluates the contemporary relevance of agitprop theatre made in British contexts in the 1960s and 1970s by comparing academic analyses of the work with less well-documented critiques by the practitioners and audiences. She documents also the fluctuation and transformation, rather than the dissipation, of political activism in the final decades of the twentieth century. Rebecca Hillman is a director and playwright, and is a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Exeter..

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015