Professor Maggie Gale of the University of Manchester will explore Priestley’s rich contribution to the histories of British theatre in the annual J.B. Priestley Society lecture at the University of Bradford on Saturday 10 March 2012.
Professor Gale, who has published extensively on 20th century theatre and recently on Priestley’s involvement, will argue that “he developed, from a very early point in his theatre career, an extraordinarily strong sense of the theatre both as an industry and as a collective activity. His theories of the meaning and function of theatre as a cultural activity were, in many ways, well beyond the ideas of others of his generation. His work as an independent producer also went against the grain of the majority of theatre production during the mid-century. Priestley managed to avoid the management cartels which owned and ran the West End, through a canny ability to understand not only the zeitgeist in terms of his plays (who would have thought that ‘They Came to A City’ could have had such a comparatively long run for example), but also the intricacies of theatre production and management. In this respect he was unique amongst his colleagues, and this lecture attempts to further re-position him historically as a man of British theatre whilst examining some of the reasons his contributions have somewhat been written out of that history”.
The lecture, from 2pm in the John Stanley Bell Lecture Theatre, Richmond Building, is open to all. For members, the Society’s AGM will be held in the same venue that morning. For further details, directions and how to book, see the flyer J B Priestley Society Lecture 10 3 2012 (PDF format) or the University webpage for the event.