Popular Theatre and Political Utopia in France, 1870—1940

Active Citizens

  • Jessica Wardhaugh

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Jessica Wardhaugh
    Pages 1-22
  3. Jessica Wardhaugh
    Pages 313-320
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 321-357

About this book


This book is the first study of popular theatre in France from left to right, exploring how theatre shapes political acts, ideals, and communities in the modern world. As the French found innovative ways of imagining culture and politics in the age of the masses, popular theatre became central to the republican project of using art to create citizens, using secular spaces for the experience of civic communion. But while state projects often faltered in finding playwrights, locations, and audiences, popular theatre flourished on the political and geographical peripheries. Drawing on extensive archival research, this book illuminates lost worlds of political conviviality, from anarchist communes and clandestine agit-prop drama to royalist street politics and right-wing mass spectacle. It reveals new connections between French initiatives and their European counterparts, and demonstrates the enduring strength of radical communities in shaping political ideals and engagement.


History of French popular theatre Politics, theatre, and utopia State education Popular music Théâtre National Populaire Theatre in the provinces Breton plays Pierre Corneille Henri Ghéon Léon Chancerel Catholic popular theatre Anarchist theatre The Belle Époque Théâtre d’Art Social Théâtre Civique Romain Rolland Commemoration of the First World War Théâtre de la Révolution

Authors and affiliations

  • Jessica Wardhaugh
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickCoventryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information