Critical reflections on the political theatre of John McGrath and 7:84 Theatre Company: how successfully did their plays speak for the people and to the people?

Doyle, Caroline (2013) Critical reflections on the political theatre of John McGrath and 7:84 Theatre Company: how successfully did their plays speak for the people and to the people? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation reflects critically on the political theatre of John McGrath and 7:84 Theatre Company, and how their theatre spoke for and to the working-classes. This is broken down into the context, form and audience response and assesses the ways in which these were successful. By looking at these three aspects, an all-encompassing debate can be formed. Firstly, this dissertation covers the social, political and cultural events and influences that occurred before and during McGrath’s working life. It analyses how these events influenced him, how they affected his political and theatrical engagement and where the impact of these events occur within his plays. Then, it examines Swings and Roundabouts, McGrath’s 1980’s play. The discussion here focuses on how McGrath had transferred his political viewpoint into the content of his play, and how well the play reflects the social and political climate of the 1980’s. The focus then shifts in the final chapter towards the performance aspects and audience responses to the company’s 1973 production of The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil. Here, an analysis is made of the devices used by the company to engage a working-class audience who may have never experienced theatre of this kind before. It examines how these devices were successful for this kind of audience. The two plays differ and are written almost a decade apart. They both attempt to bring theatre to the working-class, for the working-class, and outline the negative effects of a capitalist society on everyday people. Over the chapters of this dissertation, I will be taking the view point that McGrath and the 7:84 Theatre Company were, overall, successful in their attempts, but relevant counter-arguments are provided where appropriate to create a balanced and critical debate.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jenni King
    Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2014 15:32
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:33
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/14283

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