From Agit-prop to Agit-docs in 1930s British Theatre

This article was published in Konan Women’s University Journal of Literature and Culture (59):2023 pp.47-57.

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Between 1931 and 1940, the Salford based Theatre of Action (TOA) produced a series of agit-prop plays that experimented with proto-documentary theatre forms, including the political review and the living newspaper. Among these plays was Newsboy (1935), a living newspaper about the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe. Newsboy plays a small but telling role in the embryonic stage of British documentary theatre. This article examines the social, political and artistic conditions that influenced TOA’s production of Newsboy and reflects on the makeup and legacy of its form.

Key words: British theatre, documentary theatre, agit-prop theatre, Theatre of Action, Workers Theatre Movement


1931 年から1940 年にかけて,サルフォードを拠点とするシアター・オブ・アクション(TOA)は,政治評論や生きた新聞など,原始的なドキュメンタリー演劇の形式を実験的に用いた一連のアジト宣伝劇を制作した。これらの劇の中に,1930 年代のヨーロッパにおけるファシズムの台頭に関する生きた新聞「ニュースボーイ」(1935 年)がある。「ニュースボーイ」は,イギリス・ドキュメンタリー演劇の胎動において,小さいながらも重要な役割を担っている。本稿では,TOA の「ニュースボーイ」制作に影響を与えた社会的,政治的,芸術的条件を検証し,その形式の構成と遺産を考察する。


Cover image: Unknown photographer, The Round House, circa 1930–45, frontispiece from Fifty Years in Every Street: The Story of the Manchester University Settlement by Mary Danvers Stocks (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1945)

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