Beyond the Boundaries

American Alternative Theatre
Theodore Shank
An update of this popular history of experimental American theater


The experimental and alternative theatre movement that began in the United States in the 1960s continues to be important and relevant as artists seek to express an ever-changing world. These imaginative and sometimes controversial productions have explored social and political problems and experimented with new staging methods. In other performances, theatre artists have looked inward to examine the nature of consciousness, perception, or the structure of thought.

Beyond the Boundaries enlarges and updates Theodore Shank's 1982 book American Alternative Theatre, examining the ways in which the experiments of the 1960s and 1970s continue to affect contemporary theater. Shank was one of the first critics to describe and interpret the work of groups and individuals such as Spalding Gray, Elizabeth LeCompte, El Teatro Campesino, Robert Wilson, Richard Foreman, and the Bread and Puppet Theater. He now describes the new generation of theater artists—including Anna Deavere Smith, Ron Athey, Ping Chong, Tim Miller, Karen Finley, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and Holly Hughes, among others—who were influenced by the theater of the 60s and 70s but whose work has arrived with a sharper, more cynical edge.

Theodore Shank is Professor of Theatre and Dance, University of California, San Diego. His other books include The Art of Dramatic Art, Contemporary British Theatre, Contemporary Experimental Theatre, and Theatre in Real Time.

Praise / Awards

  • "Not just a lesson in criticism, it winds up as an inspirational how-to manual on creating experimental theatre. . . . [A]n indispensable account of major theatrical visionaries who have changed  the ways we see the stage."
    Essays in Theatre/Etudes Theatrales

Look Inside

Copyright © 2002, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 376pp.
  • 169 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08535-4

Add to Cart
  • $36.95 U.S.