The Golden Generation

New Light on Post-War British Theatre

Edited by Dominic Shellard

Edited by Dominic Shellard

Distributed for British Library

224 pages | 30 halftones | 7 x 9-4/5 | © 2008
Cloth $39.00 ISBN: 9780712349475 Published January 2009 For sale in North and South America only
“So what was it about Look Back in Anger that caused such a shock?” asks Dominic Shellard at the start of this thought-provoking and engrossing review of postwar British theatre. In order to shed new light on an old debate, Shellard and his fellow contributors unearth 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, the cutting-edge Theatre Workshop to made-for-TV plays, avant-garde acting to the West End glitterati. Dipping in and out of the vibrant interviews and personal views of this period’s theatrical stars, this volume also includes an extraordinary variety of vivid recollections from fans, local repertory actors, budding young talents, and some of drama’s rising literary stars. Illustrated with more than thirty evocative sketches, letters, and photographs—many previously unpublished—The Golden Generation offers an absorbing and engaging portrait of what it might have been like to be Sir Lawrence Olivier or Sir John Gielgud in their primes, a most vibrant time in British theatrical history.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (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: Michael 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 British theatre in the 1960s and 1970s
Laura White
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