The Politics of Theatre and Drama by Graham Holderness (eds.)

By Graham Holderness (eds.)

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22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 41 organisation which had taken up many years of work. They reasoned that, if and when the political situation changed, the apparatus would be there to be utilised for revolutionary purposes. E. Piscator, The Political Theatre, ed. and trans. H. Rorrison (New York: Avon Publications, 1978) p. 45. Graham Holderness discusses Piscator' s work at length in Chapter 5. Piscator, p. 92. The argument for this forms the basis for Piscator's book, as it did for his theatre work.

32 Underlying the activity of the 1960s was a subtle transformation of the need for social revolution into the politics of personal liberation. When theatrical censorship was removed in 1968 the anticipated politicisation of the British stage did not take place. Instead the stage was flooded with nude display. What was at first called fringe theatre arose as a response to the failure of the Labour government to create positive cultural and political change and to the continued triviality and sterility of the established stage.

Can we afford at this point to jettison any of the forms of political action through theatre which have been the subject of this enquiry? Even such a crude, limited and oldfashioned form as agit-prop street theatre can have its uses, as, for instance, in the recent ambulance workers' strike, putting the case across pithily and dramatically. What would be wrong would be to persist in a widespread use of agit-prop in situations where it is no longer valid or effective. The purpose in posing all the foregoing questions has not been to diminish or destroy the case for political theatre but to make a case for greater sophistication in its use.

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