1956 and All That
The Making of Modern British Drama
Routledge – 1999 – 280 pages
It is said that British Drama was shockingly lifted out of the doldrums by the 'revolutionary' appearance of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court in May 1956. But had the theatre been as ephemeral and effeminate as the Angry Young Men claimed? Was the era of Terence Rattigan and 'Binkie' Beaumont as repressed and closeted as it seems?
In this bold and fascinating challenge to the received wisdom of the last forty years of theatrical history, Dan Rebellato uncovers a different story altogether. It is one where Britain's declining Empire and increasing panic over the 'problem' of homosexuality played a crucial role in the construction of an enduring myth of the theatre. By going back to primary sources and rigorously questioning all assumptions, Rebellato has rewritten the history of the Making of Modern British Drama.
'This well-written book provides an important interpretive challenge, which both postgraduates and discerning undergraduates should find useful.' - New Theatre Quarterly
'[Rebellato] brilliantly records the experience of the Lord Chamberlain's office at attempts to subvert its homophobic, censorious power ' - Michael Billington, The Guardian
'…very though provoking reading' - Maggie B Gale, University of Birmingham