No surprise that people’s desire for escapism was as fervent as ever when the Second World War ended – theatres across Britain were packed out!
Perhaps it was the darkness of the war years that drew people to the lightness and creativity of British theatre. Although what some have called a period of ‘modernism’ started years before the 1940s – in fact, elements of modernist approaches to art, design and theatre can be traced to the period between the two world wars. The people of 1930s Britain experienced terrible hardship, with soaring unemployment and poverty. Yet a group known as The Workers’ Theatre Movement – founded in 1926 – was driven by a belief in the transformative potential of theatre. By 1936 it was integral to the establishment of the Unity Theatre, a group that staged plays on social and political issues to growing audiences. The Unity Theatre stated its aims as:
‘To foster and further the art of drama in accordance with the principle that true art, by effectively presenting and truthfully interpreting life…
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