ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Feminist Theatre: radical movements and disappearing acts

wendy Stokes
London Metropolitan University
wendy Stokes
London Metropolitan University
Open Panel

Abstract

Theatre has always been political in its content; and often radical just by virtue of its existence. In the 1970s and 80s British theatre had new targets in the failures of the welfare state and the post-war economy – and in the new Conservative government. The energy with which these targets were addressed benefited from the expansion of higher education that had enabled young people from a range of backgrounds to gain a liberal education, from the experience of the social movements of the 60s and 70s, and from the radical offshoot of the Labour party that came to dominate urban metropolitan government: the New Urban Left took the political battle to the grass roots – and its strategy included some creative approaches to community funding.. Against this backdrop feminist theatre emerged: the child of political theatre and the women’s movement. Companies such as Monstrous Regiment, Trouble and Strife, Spare Tyre, Cunning Stunts, MsFits, the Women’s Theatre Group, and Sensible Footwear produced new drama and took it on the road. This paper examines the different meanings of feminist theatre by considering some of the groups from the period and assessing their goals and achievements. It goes on to consider the impact of this short-lived initiative on theatre today, in particular, the present role of feminism in theatre.