J.B. Priestley (Routledge Modern and Contemporary by Maggie B. Gale

By Maggie B. Gale

J. B. Priestley is the 1st publication to supply a close and recent research of the big contribution made by way of this playwright, novelist, journalist and critic to 20th century British theatre. Priestley used to be frequently criticised for being both too populist or too experimental and this research unpicks the contradictions of a playwright and theatre theorist well-liked by audiences yet too usually brushed off by means of critics; describing and analysing intimately not just his performs but additionally their particular historic and modern productions. utilizing a mixture of archive, assessment and significant fabrics, the ebook re-locates Priestley as a theatre theorist of substance in addition to a playwright who challenged theatre conventions and assumptions approximately viewers expectancies, at a time whilst theatre was once thought of either conservative and missing in innovation.    

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Extra info for J.B. Priestley (Routledge Modern and Contemporary Dramatists)

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And expenses . . a proportion of the managerial expenses out of a share of the weekly returns that amounts to 55 per cent . . as things are at present, the theatre-owner (or as often happens, the gang of speculators who have moved in to secure leases) risks nothing and contributes nothing, and marches off with most of the profit. (Priestley 1947b: 29–30) The managements and theatre owners received the financial benefit of theatrical production from the initial rental and payment of recurrent costs, and from their agreed percentage of box office sales, regardless of any profit gained from the production.

Is all wrong . . gambling has taken the place of policy . . this private commercial enterprise in the Theatre . . builds up no new loyalties, shows itself incapable of sensible planning, and largely creates a feeling of insecurity and uncertainty. (Priestley 1947b: 36–9) The emphasis and focus of criticism varied at different points in his career, but still in the late 1940s, he suggested that the theatre needed to organise itself more effectively, and challenged the lack of substantial funding for drama during the early years of the Arts Council: drama received 30 per cent of the total funding awarded to music in 1944–5 (Priestley 1947b: 23).

Shaw, objected to (see Kennedy 1989). Priestley joined the well-established line of playwrights who called for some kind of ‘national theatre’ rather than have the industry run by managements with predominantly economic as opposed to artistic interests. Tracy C. Davis has remarked that although the ‘entertainment industry was so radically altered by the outbreak of war in 1914, many businesses experienced difficulty on the home front’ before the war. B. Shaw’s view that the popularity of ‘nonlegitimate theatre’ – the music halls and associated entertainment venues – represented ‘consumer choice’ (Davis 2000: 354).

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