Changing Performance

Culture and Performance in the British Theatre since 1945

by David Keith Peacock (Author)
©2008 Monographs 284 Pages
Series: Stage and Screen Studies, Volume 11


This book examines changes in performance practice in mainstream British theatre since 1945 which focus on the attempt by directors and companies to replace the realism of inter-war theatre with more physically and vocally expressive acting and ensemble approach to production processes. The aim was to replace the capitalist line-management approach of the commercial theatre with a more democratic collaborative structure that would encourage contribution to the creation of the performance text by the director, writer, actors, designers and technicians. Theatre is viewed as a mode of socio-cultural practice and its evolution in Britain during the second half of the twentieth century is explored in the context of changes in cultural perception, state subsidy, the social status of theatre, technology, and aesthetic influences from abroad. The study focuses not on dramatic texts but on mainstream productions that represent stages in an aesthetic evolution. They include Terence Rattigan’s The Browning Version (1946); Theatre Workshop’s A Taste of Honey (1958) and Oh What a Lovely War (1963); The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1962), The Wars of the Roses (1963), The Theatre of Cruelty Laboratory (1964), The Marat-Sade (1964) and US (1966); Steven Berkoff’s Metamorphosis (1969) and Complicite’s The Three Lives of Lucy Cabrol (1994).


ISBN (Softcover)
Großbritannien Littlewood, Joan Theater Aufführungspraxis Innovation Geschichte 1945-2004 Aesthetics RSC Brooke, Peter Physical Theatre
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 284 pp., 12 ill.

Biographical notes

David Keith Peacock (Author)

The Author: D. Keith Peacock was awarded his Ph.D. from Exeter University in 1972 and is currently Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Hull. Dr Peacock has lectured in the United States, the West Indies and Hungary. He is the author of many articles and books, the most recently published being Thatcher’s Theatre (1999).


Title: Changing Performance