This book provides a new social history of British performance cultures in the early decades of the twentieth century, where performance across stage and screen was generated by dynamic and transformational industries.
Exploring an era book-ended by wars and troubled by social unrest and political uncertainty, A Social History of British Performance Cultures 1900–1939 makes use of the popular material cultures produced by and for the industries – autobiographies, fan magazines and trade journals, as well as archival holdings, popular sketches, plays and performances. Maggie B. Gale looks at how the performance industries operated, circulated their products and self-regulated their professional activities, in a period where enfranchisement, democratization, technological development and legislation shaped the experience of citizenship. Through close examination of material evidence and a theoretical underpinning, this book shows how performance industries reflected and challenged this experience, and explored the ways in which we construct our ‘performance’ as participants in the public realm.
Suited not only to scholars and students of British theatre and theatre history, but to general readers as well, A Social History of British Performance Cultures 1900–1939 offers an original intervention into the construction of British theatre and performance histories, offering new readings of the relationship between the material cultures of performance, the social, professional and civic contexts from which they arise, and on which they reflect.