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Communication Breakdowns Theatre, Performance, Rock Music and Some Other Welsh Assemblies by Ruth Shade

Communication Breakdowns Theatre, Performance, Rock Music and Some Other Welsh Assemblies


Communication Breakdowns Theatre, Performance, Rock Music and Some Other Welsh Assemblies by Ruth Shade

Using an examination of theatrical and musical performance in a small Valleys town as a focus, this work puts forward an argued discussion of contemporary Welsh theatre in its cultural context. The text uses the south Wales valleys as a means of locating and exploring certain key issues: those connected to coercive ideas about what ideal theatre is; the relationship between politics and performance; the conundrum of community theatre; the role of theatre practice in marginalized regions; and the significance of class to theatre and the problem of a system of arts subsidy which foists inappropriate external theatre product on indigenous audiences.


Anyone remotely interested in theatre in Wales should read this book. Shade argues that in the past ten years, Welsh theatre has become the prerogative of the few, and that due to confused leadership and funding policies the audiences have been ignored. It is particularly the working class audience of the densely populated South Wales Valleys that concern her. She believes in a Welsh theatre where class issues stand hand in hand with Art, and that this issue is as relevant for amateur theatre as the professional artist. She's a champion of popularism, and sees no reason why theatre in Wales cannot achieve the popularity of Welsh rock music. There's controversy here when she states that theatre in Wales should worry less about its Welshness, and instead find a relevance to its audience. Shade strongly argues that if theatre is to survive in Wales, it had to be returned to the working class communities in a partnership with professional community arts, amateur theatre, their participants and audiences. Strong stuff. Some might say why go back? , others why did we dismantle what was working? . In the end she returns to the audience - as we all must if we are to create theatre that people want to see. Fundamentally Shade believes that there is a communication breakdown between the funders, the policy makers, the producers of theatre and the audience. It is not, she states, too late for the politicians, the civil servants, the academics and the theatre practitioners to look to and be empowered by the needs of the audience in Wales. Then, and only then, will there be a shared ownership of Welsh theatre. Shade has a point - and a very strong one at that. Phil Clark, Artistic Director/Chief Executive, Sherman Theatre. ' ... a brave book and one that should be welcomed...

About the Author

Ruth Shade is Course Leader in Drama at the University of Wolverhampton. She has written widely on contemporary theatre and Welsh identity, including recent pieces in Planet on Welsh drama policy, theatre in Aberdare and the history of Welsh rock music.

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Book Info

Publication date

28th January 2004


Ruth Shade

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University of Wales Press


192 pages


Cultural studies
Theatre studies



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