Cooperation and Conflict: GDR Theatre Censorship, 1961-1989

Hardcover | November 28, 2010

byLaura Bradley

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Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the authorities in the German Democratic Republic always denied that they practised censorship. In this fascinating new study, Laura Bradley explores how the authorities' denial affected the language and experience of theatre censorship. She shows thatit left theatre practitioners doubly exposed: they remained officially responsible for their productions, even if the productions had passed pre-performance controls. In the absence of a fixed set of criteria, cultural functionaries had to make difficult judgements about which plays and productionsto allow, and where to draw the line between constructive criticism and subversion. Drawing on a wealth of new archive material, the study explores how theatre practitioners and functionaries negotiated these challenges between 1961 and 1989. The chapters in Part I explore theatre censorship in EastBerlin, asking how the controls affected different genres, and how theatre practitioners responded to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Prague Spring, and the expatriation of Wolf Biermann. Part II broadens the focus to the regions, investigating why theatre practitioners complained of strongregional variations in theatre censorship, and how they responded to Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of glasnost and perestroika. By examining a range of case studies, from banned stagings to those that met with official approval, the book puts high-profile disputes back into context. It shows howcensorship operated through human negotiation, illuminating the shifting patterns of cooperation and conflict that influenced the space available for theatrical experimentation.

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Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the authorities in the German Democratic Republic always denied that they practised censorship. In this fascinating new study, Laura Bradley explores how the authorities' denial affected the language and experience of theatre censorship. She shows thatit left theatre practitioners doubly expose...

Laura Bradley is Lecturer in German at the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of Brecht and Political Theatre: 'The Mother' on Stage , and she has published widely on twentieth-century German theatre and censorship.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pagesPublished:November 28, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199589631

ISBN - 13:9780199589630

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Table of Contents

List of illustrationsList of abbreviationsAdministrative map of the GDR1. IntroductionPart I: Theatre censorship in East Berlin2. Contemporary drama in the 1960s: a contested space3. The Prague Spring: allegories and allusions4. Heine, Kleist, and Buchner in the 1970sPart II: Theatre censorship in the regions5. Political patchwork? Regional experiences of theatre censorship6. Schwerin and Anklam in the early 1980s: cooperation and conflict7. Dresden and Bautzen in the late 1980s: performing perestroika8. ConclusionReferencesIndex