Winner of the 2011 Theatre Book Prize.
An invaluable guide to the difficult arts of devising plays and directing texts, by one of the UK’s leading theatre directors. Throughout a lifetime of experience – as an actor for Mike Leigh, founder of Hull Truck, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, and subsequently as a freelance director – Mike Bradwell has forged a reputation as a theatrical innovator and risk-taker. This book begins by exploring the process of devising a play by working intensively through character and improvisation with a group of actors. Using A Bed of Roses as an example, a play that he himself devised, Bradwell shows how the actors set about inventing their characters, whether within a pre-determined framework or with no strictures whatsoever. He explores how actors can then ‘grow’ their character, both through solo work and through interaction with the other characters. He also examines the role of the director in moulding and shaping the individual scenes, the overall action of the play, and the development of the characters within it. The second half of the book describes in detail how the nuanced work involved in devising characters from scratch can be applied to a pre-existing text. Bradwell explains the techniques by which he encourages the actor to take possession of his or her character by investigating or inventing their whole history up to the moment the action begins. Taking as his template Jack Thorne’s play When You Cure Me, which Bradwell directed at the Bush, he demonstrates the meticulous work on the text that is needed to keep the characters alive and truthful in every moment of the action. All together, Inventing the Truth offers practitioners a unique account of the techniques involved in devising or directing plays to the highest standard. Mike Bradwell’s previous book The Reluctant Escapologist won the Theatre Book Prize in 2011. ‘There is a special sense of care about a Mike Bradwell production, in dramas that penetrate deeply into the secret corners of the human heart’ Daily Telegraph Also included in the book, to aid the reader’s understanding of the process, are the full texts of both A Bed of Roses (‘Hilariously funny, extremely moving and physically frightening... a small masterpiece’ Time Out) and Jack Thorne’s When You Cure Me (‘Painstakingly honest... acutely observant of the petty rivalries and jealousies that sickness provokes’ Guardian).
She could teach more folk round 'ere about what's bloody well important in their lives - when it comes down to it. What matters . . . That precious bit of you that gets buried in shit, and she's there clearin' it all away. Delie is special and she's won a trophy for picking up litter from the mayor. Every summer she goes on her holidays to her Aunty Brenda who runs a women's domestic abuse refuge in a Yorkshire mining village. Delie and her Aunty Brenda and a pawnbroker called George who wears a dress are The Flannelettes - a Motown tribute band. Delie is in her twenties but with a mental age of ten; when she meets Roma - who used to live on the streets in Rotherham - the two become best friends, sharing each others' secrets. By the award-winning writer of The Glee Club, The Flanelettes is a tough, uncompromising play which looks at love and violence in a shattered community, all playing to a bittersweet soundtrack of Sixties soul.
Theatre is at its best when it is disobedient, when it argues back to society. But what enables it to achieve this impact? What makes it a force to be reckoned with? What are the principles and the tools of the trade that shape it to be effective, powerful and resonant? Drawing from both theory and practice, and informed by conversations with recognized practitioners from across the UK, this book provides answers and makes an impassioned call for artists to reimagine, question and disrupt. Divided into two parts, 'In the World' and 'In the Room', the book presents a rounded picture of the possibilities of a 'disobedient' culture and includes many games and exercises for creative practitioners. In Part One the author offers a lexicon defining the spirit and impulse which characterises disobedient theatre: he describes the principles, the strategies, and the voice of the artist, before suggesting ways to survive as a creative practitioner. Part Two illustrates how these principles may be worked out in practice when creating new work, with the hands-on approaches supplemented by games and exercises to assist in generating material. Disobedient Theatre is for all those who have an interest in what makes theatre powerful, disturbing or even life-changing. It is a book for artists, thinkers, activists and all who believe in the function of art to offer new possibilities and to change and inform the evolution of society.
In this delightful collection forty-three acclaimed writers explain what first made them interested in literature, what inspired them to read and what makes them continue to do so. First published in 1992 in hardback only, original contributors include Margaret Atwood, J. G. Ballard, Melvyn Bragg, A. S. Byatt, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Gray, Germaine Greer, Alan Hollinghurst, Doris Lessing, Candia McWilliam, Edna O'Brien, Ruth Rendell, Tom Stoppard, Sue Townsend and Jeanette Winterson. The new edition will include essays from five new writers, Emily Berry, Kamila Shamsie, Rory Stewart, Katie Waldegrave and Tom Wells. Royalties generated from this project will go to Give a Book, www.giveabook.org.uk, a charity set up in 2011 that seeks to get books to places where they will be of particular benefit. Give a Book works in conjunction with Age UK, Prison Reading Groups, Maggie's Centres, which help people affected by cancer, and various schools and literacy projects, such as Beanstalk, where many pupils have never had a book of their own in their lives.
The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary British Playwrights is an authoritative guide to the work of twenty-five playwrights who have risen to prominence since the 1980s. Written by an international team of scholars, it will be invaluable to anyone interested in, studying or teaching contemporary drama. Among the many playwrights whose work is examined are Sarah Daniels, Terry Johnson, Martin Crimp, Sarah Kane, Anthony Neilson, Mark Ravenhill, Simon Stephens, Debbie Tucker Green, Tanika Gupta and Richard Bean. Each essay features: A biographical sketch and introduction to the playwright A discussion of their most important plays An analysis of their stylistic and thematic traits, the critical reception and their place in the discourses of British theatre A bibliography of texts and critical material