Glasgow Unity Theatre: the necessary contradictions of Scottish political theatre

Scullion, A.C. (2005) Glasgow Unity Theatre: the necessary contradictions of Scottish political theatre. Twentieth-Century British History, 13(3), pp. 215-252. (doi: 10.1093/tcbh/13.3.215)

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The modern study of drama and theatre making in Scotland emerged in the late 1970s and 1980s, and was significantly influenced by the impact of Marxist criticism on British cultural studies and nationalist cultural politics on Scottish studies. Accounts of Glasgow Unity Theatre (1941–1951) were at the centre of the new specialism, and they were structured and written within this contemporary rhetorical and critical frame. With reference to a range of primary and secondary materials, this essay reviews our knowledge of this mid-century, left-wing theatre company. It argues that not only have the production, performance, and dramaturgical activities of Glasgow Unity influenced subsequent Scottish theatre companies, but also its critical and academic recovery—which took place during a crucial period in the establishment of the discipline—has fundamentally shaped a critical orthodoxy within Scottish theatre studies that prefers a history of working-class and broadly naturalistic drama and theatre. The essay suggests that it is only in recent scholarly activity that this prevailing view has begun to be questioned, revealing a range of gaps and opportunities for a now rather more mature and self-reflective subject area.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scullion, Professor Adrienne
Authors: Scullion, A.C.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Twentieth-Century British History
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1477-4674

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