CDE Studies 12

Kathleen Starck
I Believe in the Power of Theatre‘ – British Women’s Drama of the 1980s and 1990s

Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2005.
ISBN 3-88476-753-4, 272 S., kt., EUR 28,00

This study gives an overview of British women’s drama of the 1980s and 1990s. It analyses thirty plays by twenty-six authors, whose works have been performed from 1980 onwards. Against the background of the first wave of women playwrights and women’s theatre companies during the 1960s and 1970s, a number of trends are pointed out.
Major influences on British women’s drama were the rise and fall of Thatcherism, the coming of age of the women’s liberation and gay liberation movements and the emergence of a „multi-cultural“ Britain.

The advancement of feminism, in particular, affected the choice of subject matter and the approach taken. There are parallels between the maturing of feminist studies/feminist literary criticism and trends in British women’s drama of the 1980s and 1990s. These parallels, such as turning away from the mere “consciousness raising” of first and second wave feminism and first wave women’s drama, are evident in the emergence of gender transgressing subjects and in changes in dramatic form.