Review: The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre

Review of a talk by Aleks Sierz and Lia Ghilardi, promoting their new book ‘The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre’.

The Oxford Culture Review

When writing about theatre, one of the most difficult problems is bridging the gap between the vivacity of a live performance, and the more detailed concerns of textual analysis. In academic writing and histories of theatre, this issue is particularly acute. If you focus primarily on a text, how do you situate the interactions between the text and its concomitant community? How do you account for those people who make up the life of the theatre — namely, audiences?

Aleks Sierz and Lia Ghilardi’s new book, The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre, attempts to inhabit the space between textual- and performance-based histories of theatre. Beginning with the coronation of Elizabeth I and concluding with the coronation of Elizabeth II, the book spans over four hundred years of British theatre, looking at the relationships between plays and their audiences. As a theatre critic and cultural geographer respectively, Sierz and Ghilardi’s…

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