It's the oldest form of theatre. Gather round and we'll tell you a story
In this episode I go in search of right-wing theatre and try to trace out a little history of how and why the theatre might have a liberal bias. I then talk about conservatism in the theatre with Kate Maltby. Finally, I interview Paul Miller, artistic director of the Orange Tree, looking back at his time so far and previewing the new season.
- 00.00.00 Introduction
- 00.01.15 Right-wing theatre: introduction
- 00.18.45 Right-wing theatre: discussion with Kate Maltby
- 00.49.44 Interview with Paul Miller
- 01.24.09 End
Much of the detailed information about things Thatcher said comes from her Foundation's rather brilliant website which has a searchable archive of almost everything she said or did. The inflation details come from this useful online spreadsheet. The unemployment statistics come from James Denman and Paul McDonald. 'Unemployment statistics from 1881 to the present day.' Labour Market Trends. 105 (1996): pp. 5-18, a PDF of which is here. The text of the 1979 Conservative Manifesto is here.
The clips came from various online sources:
- Sounds from the Brixton riots come from ITN Archive material on YouTube.
- Thatcher's 'Lady's not for turning' can be seen in full here and that particular moment here.
- The clip from Frieda by Ronald Miller is actually from the film version (dir. Basil Dearden, 1947) which you can see on DailyMotion.
- Thatcher's quotation of words attributed to St Francis of Assisi can be seen here.
- The extract from Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not for Burning comes from YouTube. There it claims it is a 1950 radio version, but the only radio version of the time starred Alec Clunes, not Gielgud. (In the podcast I misleadingly say Gielgud starred in the premiere; in fact, Clunes played it first at the Arts Theatre for a short run.) I think this is from the recording of the original New York cast, mostly the same as the London cast) released on vinyl by Decca in 1951.
- Thatcher's version of The Parrot Sketch (yes, really) is here.
- John Wells's Anyone for Denis? opened at the Whitehall Theatre on 7 May 1981 and was adapted for television and broadcast 28 December 1982, from which this clip is taken. It's John Wells and Angela Thorne you can hear in this clip.
- This dreadful arrangement of 'My Favourite Things' is the original theme tune of the Russel Harty show. Sadly the Thatcher episode has not yet found it to YouTube, so this is taken from, of all things, the Steve Davis episode.
- In 1989, Judi Dench directed a revival of Look Back in Anger, starring Kenneth Branagh (who you can hear in this clip) and Emma Thompson. It had a run at the Lyric Theatre in the West End in summer that year and was filmed for television the same year, from which production this clip is taken.
- In the Thatcher on stage montage the clips are, in order, from:
- The Audience by Peter Morgan (Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto). This Kate Hennig (Thatcher) and Fiona Reid (Queen) that you can hear.
- Billy Elliot by Lee Hall and Elton John (Victoria Palace, London). This version of the song 'Merry Christmas Margaret Thatcher' comes from a live version on YouTube.
- Handbagged by Moira Buffini (Tricycle Theatre, London; transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre). This clip is from a segment on The Daily Politics (BBC, April 2014). You can hear Fenella Woolgar being terrifyingly uncanny as Thatcher. Lucy Robinson plays the Queen.
- Top Girls by Caryl Churchill. This clip is from the 1991 television adaptation of the Royal Court revival from earlier that year, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, starring Deborah Findlay and Lesley Manville as the politically opposed sisters Joyce and Marlene.
- Margaret Thatcher - Queen of Soho performed by Matthew Tedford. This clip (Let's go girls!') is just from an online trailer.
You find out more about Kate Maltby from her website:
The plays Kate mentions early on are
- The Heretic by Richard Bean, which opened at the Royal Court in February 2011
- Holy Warriors by David Eldridge, which opened at Shakespeare's Globe in July 2014.
The interview I quote with Nigel Lawson, the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer in Thatcher's second term, is:
- Coleman, Terry. 'Chancellor with Shakespeare on His Side.' Guardian, 5 September 1983, 11.
And you can get more information about the new Orange Tree season (and book tickets) from their website:
Music by Nick Powell and Nick McCarthy
Graphics by Liam Jarvis
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