Book Review – Modern British Playwriting 2000-2009 by Bloomsbury

modern british playwritingISBN 978-1-4081-2956-2

Text: Dan Rebellato, Jacqueline Bolton, Michael Pearce, Nadine Holdsworth , Lynette Goddard and Andrew Haydon for Chapter 1

Published by Bloomsbury Oct 2013


340 pages

Being one of a series of six volumes, this book relates to theatre from 2000 – 2009. In the preface the series editors Richard Boon and Philip Roberts explain how the book fits with others from the series in reassessing theatre for a specific decade; and this is followed by acknowledgements by editor, Dan Rebellato. In Rebellato’s introduction his overview of life in Britain in the 2000s comes in six categories: Domestic Life, Society, Culture, Media, Science and technology and Political events. Each category follows a chronological order of events. Chapter 1 reflects on verbatim responses to the political happenings of the decade, the impact of technological advances (growth of multi-media productions) on theatrical pieces; topics also include, site specific theatre; and the growing influences over this time in regard to the staging of new work including the popularity of ‘Scratch Nights’. Other headings for this Chapter are entitled: The Royal Court, the money and the new writing industry, Authors, National Theatre, Criticism, Autumn 2009: Postcards from the end of the decade

Rebellato’s introduction is interesting reading and an effective recapping of what has come to be known as The Noughties, and these sections are useful as a point of reference. And Chapter 1 is indeed a ‘punchy’ viewpoint from the reputable theatre critic and blogger – Andrew Haydon

Here the authors’ go all out to demonstrate how the works of five British dramatists are deemed as being representative of the last decade (the 2000s) in a contextual sense. The names of the playwrights follow with the author’s name in brackets:
Simon Stephens (Jacqueline Bolton),
Tim Crouch (Dan Rebellato),
Roy Williams (Michael Pearce),
David Grieg (Nadine Holdsworth),
and Debbie Tucker Green (Lynette Goddard).
The introductions of the five playwrights and their plays are designed to enlighten us, so we might come to understand them and so be appreciative of their work. Showing examples of their differing approaches to script writing and providing explanations of intended messages, in relation to themes, is crucial in regard to us recognizing and defining what is or may have been in their minds; thus educating in the process of writing effectively for Stage. The book demonstrates how playwriting can hold on to a message, take it forward by creating a situation/setting, one that can be acted out, and, therefore, be used as a vehicle for that message to transcend.
Includes interviews.

The book is well structured. From pages 213 to 285 there are real documents presented; these are largely unseen and unpublished alternative sections to the plays mentioned in the book. This section is fascinating and insightful. Pages of ‘Notes’ include publishing attributes, quotes, acknowledgements, online links, websites and blog addresses and recommended books and articles and bibliography information. The book ends with little work related bios about the authors entitled ‘Note on Contributors’ and, finally, a 19 page Index


Paperback. Fact boxes in the introduction. Plain text (some italics). Upper cased headings in bold. Text set out in medium length to long length paragraphs


An intelligible book for writers, theatre critics and for students of theatre studies

academic award Bloomsbury


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