After Brecht

British Epic Theater
Janelle G. Reinelt
How contemporary British political theater has evolved and expanded from the legacy of Bertolt Brecht


After Brecht: British Epic Theater is the first book to fully explore contemporary British drama in the light of the influence of German playwright Bertolt Brecht. Focusing on the work of Howard Brenton, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, David Hare, Trevor Griffiths, and John McGrath, the book examines Brechtian techniques and style within the work of each playwright, while highlighting the divergent development of each.

The book has been enriched by the author's in-depth conversations with the playwrights. The topics covered include contemporary politics and the theater, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and such well-known fringe companies as Foco Novo, Joint Stock, Portable Theatre, and 7:84. Reinelt examines each playwright within an interpretive frame drawn from an application of Brecht's theories and practice to the historically specific situation of post-war British theater.

The book will appeal to those interested in the relationship between politics and art and contemporary European theater and its antecedents.

Janelle Reinelt is Chair of the Department of Dramatic Art and Dance, University of California-Davis.

Praise / Awards

  • "After Brecht represents the best and most detailed engagement with the contemporary British theater scene to date."
    —Stanton B. Garner, Jr.

  • "This fine study . . . confronts issues that are important to all students and practitioners of the theater. Sensitive to the uniqueness of each of the playwrights in her study, Reinelt demonstrates that Brechtian theory can be modified in many ways by those who share the belief that 'politics and aesthetics are inseparably linked.'"

Look Inside


Introduction     1
Chapter 1: Howard Brenton: Gestus in Public Spaces     17
Chapter 2: Edward Bond: Parables for Our Times     49
Chapter 3: Caryl Churchill: Socialist Feminism and Brechtian Dramaturgy     81
Chapter 4: David Hare: Social Gestus in Private Scenes     109
Chapter 5: Trevor Griffiths: Counterpoint to a Brechtian Aesthetic     143
Chapter 6: John McGrath: Brecht and the Popular Tradition     177
Conclusion     207
Notes     211
Index     233

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 248pp.
  • 11 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1996
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08408-1

Add to Cart
  • $28.95 U.S.



  • Bertolt Brecht, Howard Brenton, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, David Hare, Trevor Griffiths, John McGrath, playwright, theater studies, theater and performance, literary studies, British literature, English literature, literary criticism, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, British theater, European theater