British Political Theatre (250 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Steve Barfield (University of Human Development, Suleymanyia, Iraqi Kurdistan)


[Preliminary entry] Theatre is the most public and thus, arguably, the most innately political of art forms. However, the term British political theatre refers a group of diverse, yet like-minded playwrights and theatre practitioners. These would include: Arnold Wesker; John Arden; Trevor Griffiths; (early) Howard Barker; Edward Bond; Howard Brenton; John McGrath and 7:84; David Hare; David Edgar; Caryl Churchill; Peter Barnes. They believed that plays could not only diagnose what was wrong with British society, but could promote radical social and political change. Their work dominated non-commercial, alternative British theatre between roughly 1960 to the mid-1980s, the period ending with the apogee of Thatcherism (1979-1990) in the …

Barfield, Steve. "British Political Theatre". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2004
[, accessed 26 October 2016.]