The embarrassment caused in the theatre by Channel 4's recent programme The Play's the Thing, which showed a vain attempt to manufacture a West End play from the early offerings of first-time writers, should prove salutary. But I doubt it will. The programme presented in caricature form a set of now common practices, ways of handling new writers, and the desire to create theatre by diktat.
The new interventionism seems to have begun around 1979 as part of a proliferation of new ideas - devised theatre, documentary, attempts at new forms, physical theatre - that had their roots in the 60s. The emphasis on top-down thinking, rather than anything created writer-up, meant that a new form of censorship began to impose itself. This has led to young writers delivering drafts instead of plays, knowing the humiliation that lies in store.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
In The Guardian, Peter Gill argues that top-down thinking has created a new form of censorship on new play writing.