Amber Lane Press

Two of our books which, between them, look back at the formative decades of British theatre following the second world war, and consider its prospects at the dawn of a new century are Playwrights’ Progress and Theatre in a Cool Climate.

Theatre in a Cool Climate edited by Vera Gotlieb and Colin Chambers publisher  Amber Lane Press
ISBN: 9781872868264
£14.95 £13.45
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Vera Gottlieb and Colin Chambers (editors)
Theatre in a Cool Climate

Does the British Theatre have a future? Despite the onslaught of government policies and media denigration, all the contributors to this book think it does.

In Theatre in a Cool Climate they present their own snapshots of what it is like to be a professional in the theatre today, and express their hopes as well as their fears for the future. This wide-ranging collection of 20 new and established voices - Sir Peter Hall, Sir Richard Eyre, Alison Chitty, Harold Pinter, et al - mixes innovative approaches to producing, managing and funding with stimulating views on playwriting, acting, directing and design.

Essential reading for anyone concerned with the state of contemporary British theatre, Theatre in a Cool Climate offers a unique insight from the front line at the dawn of a new century.

Foreword by Paul Scofield

“Should the theatre fight to sustain the now very confused policy of subsidy instigated by the Arts Council in the mid-1940s, or embrace “market forces”? Gottlieb and Chambers seek to map out what has gone wrong and to offer positive visions for the future ... The lively diversity of attitudes here demonstrates that there are no easy solutions...”
~ Tim Auld, Times Literary Supplement

“[The editors] have gathered together a distinguished list of practitioners - actors, directors, critics, designers, playwrights and, significantly, those whose opinions are not sought as often, including administrators, producers and dramaturgs.”
~ Peter Hepple, The Stage

“...a thought-provoking new book ... in which key figures in the stage world contribute to an end of millennium report on theatre - a ‘state of the art’ document as it were.”
~ Chris Gray, The Oxford Times

“...this is an important book. It gives much food for thought, provides many important facts and insights, and should be required reading above all for the wretched philistines ... in whose hands the subsidies for the theatres still are lodged in this country.”
~ (Martin Esslin, Plays International)


Colin Chambers and Mike Prior
Playwrights’ Progress

Playwrights have been central to the re-generation of British drama since 1945, but who were the pioneers? Established dramatists like Noel Coward, Terence Rattigan and J.B. Priestley continued to write successful plays after the War yet without breaking new ground. Experiment lay elsewhere - in the work of Ewan MacColl, for example, writing for the new Theatre Workshop under Joan Littlewood's direction.

But it was 1956 that marked a watershed for British theatre when John Osborne burst upon the London stage with his first play Look Back in Anger, championed by George Devine's English Stage Company at the Royal Court. So began a dazzling new era that was to produce, among others, Arnold Wesker, Edward Bond and Harold Pinter, soon to be joined by a further wave including Joe Orton, David Storey, and Tom Stoppard - all concerned to redefine the limits of their craft.

Thereafter every decade produced its own batch of innovative writers and in Playwrights Progress Colin Chambers and Mike Prior explore the themes and preoccupations that link postwar British playwrights across the generations. What emerges is a fascinating analysis of British life and society as seen through its drama.

“Chambers and Prior have looked at the changing and contradictory world of post war British drama through the work of significant writers and come up with a readable and compelling book which succeeds in conveying the complexities in a highly entertaining style ... A book to recommend for those who take their theatre seriously but don’t want to be mystified.”
~ Roger Foss, 7 Days



Playwrights' Progress by Colin Chambers and Mike Prior published by Amber Lane Press
ISBN: 9780906399811
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