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The Theatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker

Sophie Bush

DOI: 10.5040/9781408185902

ISBN: 9781408184790

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The Theatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker offers the first comprehensive overview of Wertenbaker's playwriting career which spans more than thirty years of stage plays. It considers the contexts of their initial productions by a range of companies and institutions, including the Royal Court, the Arcola and the Women's Theatre Group. While examining all of Wertenbaker's original stage works, Sophie Bush's companion focuses most extensively on the frequently studied plays Our Country's Good and The Love of the Nightingale, but also draws attention to early unpublished works and more recent, critically neglected pieces, and the counterpoints these provide.

The Companion will prove invaluable to students and scholars, combining as it does close textual analysis with detailed historical and contextual study of the processes of production and reception. The author makes comprehensive use of previously undiscussed materials from the Wertenbaker Archive, including draft texts, correspondence and theatrical ephemera, as well as original interviews with the playwright. A section of Performance and Critical Perspectives from other scholars and practitioners offer a range of alternative approaches to Wertenbaker's most frequently studied play, Our Country's Good.

While providing a detailed analysis of individual plays, and their themes, theatricalities and socio-historical contexts, The Theatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker also examines the processes and shape of Wertenbaker's career as a whole, and considers what the struggles and triumphs that have accompanied her work reveal about the challenges of theatrical collaboration. In its scope and reference Sophie Bush's study extends to encompass a wealth of additional information about other individuals and institutions and succeeds in placing her work within a broad range of concerns and resonances.

Accessible and informative, The Theatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker engages in a detailed survey of Wertenbaker's career as a playwright. Bush's approach is rooted in a close, textual analysis of play texts and production contexts, whilst her material is structured by means of a chronological charting of the dramatist's work through to the contemporary moment . . . Three-pronged attention [to Our Country's Good], complemented by Bush's own discussion of this major, widely studied and performed work, augers a wide market for the book from secondary to tertiary levels . . . Overall Bush makes a robust case as to why 'the theatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker' deserves our enduring critical interest Studies in Theatre and Performance

Detailed and comprehensive. The Year's Work in English Studies