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The Golden Generation: New Light on Post-war British Theatre (hardback)

Published Date:
September 2008
British Library Publishing
Bibliographic Details:
Hardback, 192 Pages, 234 x 156mm, 30 black and white illustrations
Dominic Shellard
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`So what was it about Look Back in Anger that caused such a shock?` asks Professor Dominic Shellard at the start of his review of post-war British theatre. To shed new light on an old debate, Shellard and his fellow contributors have unearthed authentic testimony and fresh archival evidence drawn from the collections of the British Library. Spanning the pivotal years from 1945 to 1968, The Golden Generation explores the explosive new shifts in perspective, drama, genre, style and performance, ranging from New Wave to `illegitimate` Variety theatre, from cutting-edge Theatre Workshop to the `made for TV` plays and avant-garde acting of the 1960s and 70s.

Starting from the viewpoint that the `best witness is always local`, The Golden Generation dips in and out of the vibrant interviews and personal views of the theatrical stars, literati and fans who lived through the `swinging` times. The reader encounters an extraordinary variety of vivid recollections, not just from West End glitterati, such as Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, but from keen local repertory fans, budding actors and `hot` young playwrights.

Illustrated with more than 30 evocative sketches, letters and photographs, many rarely seen before, The Golden Generation offers an absorbing and uniquely holistic view of one of the most vibrant periods of British theatre.

Professor Dominic Shellard is Head of the School of English Literature at the University of Sheffield. His principal publications include Kenneth Tynan: A Life (Yale, 2003), British Theatre in the 1950s, ed. (Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), British Theatre Since the War (Yale, 1999), and William Shakespeare (British Library, 1998).

Table of contents
Introduction: The AHRC British Library Theatre Archive Project and The Golden Generation - Dominic Shellard
Chapter 1: Witness Accounts - The Value of Oral History in Shedding New Light on British Theatre 1945-68: Harry Greene`s Experience of Theatre Workshop - Dominic Shellard and Kate Harris
Chapter 2: Stability, Renewal and Change: Gielgud and Olivier in 1957 - Dominic Shellard
Chapter 3: Theatres of Resistance - Michel Saint-Denis and George - Devine Ewan Jeffrey
Chapter 4: Ralph Richardson - Kate Dorney
Chapter 5: Evolutionary Stages: Theatre and Television 1946-56 - Kate Harris
Chapter 6: Smashing Open the French Windows - The Acting Profession and Sixties and Seventies British Theatre - Laura White

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