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‘Me and My Mates’: the State of English Playwriting, 2003

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2004


Since his account of the Birmingham Theatre Conference in NTQ51, Aleks Sierz has taken the temperature of British playwriting in articles about ‘Cool Britannia’ (NTQ56) – from which developed his influential book, In Yer Face Theatre: British Drama Today (Faber, 2001) – ‘Still In-Yer-Face? Towards a Critique and a Summation’ (NTQ69), and a report on the Bristol conference (NTQ73). At a time when more new writing is being staged than probably at any period of British theatre history, here he laments the insular social realism which once more characterizes English (as distinct from Irish, Scottish, and American) playwriting, however modishly its characters may now be drawn from the underclass rather than the upper; and he identifies a ‘hunger for ideas’ among British audiences which is ill-satisfied by the dystopian despair of many would-be political dramatists.

Research Article
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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