Drama Expert’s Book gives International Perspective on History of Theatre

Claire Cochrane - Theatre book

Claire Cochrane, Professor of Theatre Studies, produced the book The Methuen Drama Handbook of Theatre History and Historiography alongside Jo Robinson, Professor of Drama and Performance at the University of Nottingham.

The book includes contributions from sixteen international theatre academics writing about the history of theatre and performance in countries, including the USA, Australia, China, South Korea, Chile, India, Nigeria, Israel and Morocco.

“Each of the contributors has close personal connections with the theatres they are writing about and in some cases, their local knowledge is receiving potentially global coverage for the first time,” said Professor Cochrane.  “For example, there's an essay about the first Nigerian professional actress Adunni Oluwole, who created a brand new form of street 'guerrilla' theatre to bring about political change in the 1950s.  The essays challenge established assumptions about what's worth studying in theatre history while at the same time showing the centrality of different kinds of performance culture both to people in the past and in the present day.”

Both Professors Cochrane and Robinson research theatre in the UK, with a particular interest in looking outside of the well-known London theatre scene.  They have written further chapters focused on how theatre history has developed as an academic discipline since the nineteenth century and how it is expanding to be more internationally inclusive.  They discuss the different sources which can be used for research, from written documents in archives, to oral testimonies, ancient theatre buildings, and the relatively new resources of sound recording and film, which can give us glimpses of how our ancestors looked and sounded.