Publication date:02 March 2015
Length of book:352 pages
PublisherUniversity of Exeter Press
This is an edition of nine of McGrath's plays for the English 7:84 theatre company. It covers McGrath's work for the company spanning four decades, from the 1960s through to the 1990s
The book has a substantial contextualising introduction and commentary on the plays by Nadine Holdsworth, one of the leading specialists in the work of John McGrath. This is set alongside supporting documents such as programme notes, reviews, letters etc.
The plays and theatre work of John McGrath are studied in many theatre departments but they have not been available to the reader. The English plays constitute a powerful influence on the theatre in general, and are included in all theatre histories of the period; this collection should make them available to students, audiences and the public at large with an interest in theatre and in the social issues of their periods.
“No one since Joan Littlewood did more to advance the cause of popular theatre in Britain than John McGrath . . . He believed strongly that the function of art was to reach as many people as possible, to heighten individual awareness and to help change society for the better." “Handsomely produced and illustrated, both volumes are an eloquent monument to one of British twentieth-century theatre’s most important cultural activists.” (Theatre Research International, vol. 31, no. 2, 2006) NB: ‘both volumes’ refers to both ‘Freedom’s Pioneer’ and ‘Plays for England’)