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British Theatre and the Red Peril examines how communism was portrayed in plays in the British theatre between 1917 and 1945, and how at a time when the capitalist system seemed on the verge of collapse, the theatre played a significant part in communicating and manipulating political propaganda in order to influence audiences. It reveals explicit right-wing propaganda produced within mainstream British theatre and questions the assumption that political theatre is almost always left-wing. The book draws on published and unpublished scripts and archive documents to demonstrate how the theatre became a key site for propaganda and ideological warfare. It discusses the methods by which the Lord Chamberlain, the government and even royalty exerted control over the political views voiced on stage in an age when contemporary commentators described the theatre as second only to the press in terms of its significance as a medium of communication.
Steve Nicholson is Professor of 20th-Century and Contemporary Theatre, and Director of Drama, in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. He is the series editor for Exeter Performance Studies and the author of UEP's four-volume series Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968.