• All Books

BIC Excellence Award

Freedom's Pioneer
John McGrath's Work in Theatre, Film and Television

Edited by David Bradby and Susanna Capon

Freedom's Pioneer
Hardback, 256 pages £75.00
Published: 2005
ISBN: 9780859897488
Format: 234mm x 156mm
Buy this Book

Paperback, 256 pages £17.50
Published: 2005
ISBN: 9780859897495
Format: 234mm x 156mm
Buy this Book

PDF, 256 pages £17.50
Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780859899130
Buy this Book

Subjects: Performance
Series: Exeter Performance Studies

John McGrath's plays are compulsory reading and viewing for students of drama, film and television courses in many University and Further Education departments and yet despite recognition of the central importance of McGrath's work, very little has been written about him. This is the first full-length study of his work.

This book illuminates the importance of John McGrath's role in the development of theatre, film and television in the last four decades of the twentieth century. Through play and script-writing, through directing, producing and co-ordinating work, and through his critical, political and philosophical reflections, McGrath exerted a powerful influence over developments and innovations in all three art forms.

The contributors include film and television directors, actors, designers, writers, university researchers and journalists, many of whom worked with McGrath. Questions of day-to-day working practice are addressed alongside broader political and aesthetic concerns, and the question of McGrath's relationship to and influence on the arts in Scotland receives careful consideration.

List of Illustrations

Notes on Contributors


Foreword by Richard Eyre

Introduction by David Bradby and Susanna Capon

Part One: Culture and the Socialist Vision

1. Theatre,Theory and Politics: The Contribution of John McGrath, Maria DiCenzo

Part Two: Early Work

2. Get Out and Get On: Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun, Peter Thomson

3. A Life Outside: John McGrath and the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, Ros Merkin

4. 'Serjeant Musgrave Dances to a Different Tune': John McGrath's Adaptation of John Arden's Serjeant Musgrave's Dance, John Bull

5. Finding the Right Places, Finding the Right Audiences: Topicality and Entertainment in the Work of England, Nadine Holdsworth

Part Three: John McGrath and Scotland

6. Border Warranty: John McGrath and Scotland, Randall Stevenson

7. Celtic Centres, the Fringes and John McGrath, Ian Brown

8. Bursting through the hoop and dancing on the edge of the seediness': Five Scottish Playwrights Talk about John McGrath, Ian Brown

Part Four: Case Studies

9. The Television Adaptation of The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, Robin Nelson

10. A Practical Realism: McGrath, Brecht, Lukacs and Blood Red Roses, Stephen Lacey

11. A Good Night In: The Long Roads, Robert Dawson-Scott

12. Three One-Woman Epics: The Political Performer, Olga Taxidou

Part Five: Working with John

13. Working with John-Interviews by Susanna Capon:

Pamela Howard

Bill Paterson

Troy Kennedy Martin

Jack Gold

John Bett

Jenny Tiramani

Elizabeth MacLennan

Works by John McGrath



‘…the editors and publishers are to be congratulated for their rich and eclectic volume that allows academics, journalists, playwrights, actors and singers, designers and producers to coexist, challenge and unsettle each other within a single volume.’ (Theatre Research International: 31.2. 2006)

‘Handsomely produced and illustrated, both volumes are an eloquent monument to one of British twentieth-century theatre’s most important cultural activists.’ (Theatre Research International: 31.2. 2006)

Susanna Capon is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway. She was previously a producer and director in the television industry and she is Course Director of the first vocational MA in Producing for Film and Television. 

The late David Bradby was Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London. His published books include Beckett: Waiting for Godot , The Theater of Michel Vinaver , Modern French Drama 1940-1990 and, with Annie Sparks, Mise en Scène: French Theatre Now

Freedom's Pioneer
Freedom's Pioneer - John McGrath's Work in Theatre, Film and Television - Hardback cover

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 256 pages
 234mm x 156mm

 Paperback , 256 pages
 234mm x 156mm

 PDF , 256 pages

BIC Code:
  LIT000000, LIT013000, PER004000, PER010000, PER011000
 University of Exeter Press


Other visitors also viewed:

  • Cornwall in the Age of Rebellion, 1490-1690
  • God's Exiles and English Verse
  • Les  Marguerites
  • La  Hollande Malade
  • Histoire De Louis Anniaba
email Email to a colleague

Mailing List

mailing list

Other books by
David Bradby
Susanna Capon

Books in Series
Exeter Performance Studies