Theatre of Social Change

  • Theodore Shank
Part of the Macmillan Modern Dramatists book series (MD)


Many theatre groups formed in the sixties and seventies reflect social movements. As with the movements themselves, these theatres aim to bring about social change. Some are content to change attitudes and raise the morale of their constituent audiences, others promote acceptance by the dominant culture, and others would change society, equalizing economic and social benefits. A few groups do not represent an identifiable ethnic or social movement, but attempt to raise political consciousness by presenting in their work a socialist analysis of American society. The Living Theatre has provided one model for making theatre with a social efficacy. Other models had existed in the workers’ theatres during the depression years of the 1930s. And Brecht’s plays and theoretical writings were especially important for demonstrating an aesthetic involving social analysis.


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  1. 1.
    ‘Interview: Charles Ludlam’, Performing Arts Journal, III, 1 (Spring–Summer 1978) 78–9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Joan Holden, ‘Comedy and Revolution’, Arts in Society, VI 3 (Winter 1969).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Unless otherwise noted, all information from Joan Holden is from my conversations with her (1970–80).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    ‘El Teatro Campesino; Interviews with Luis Valdez,’ by Beth Bagby, The Drama Review (T36), XI, 4 (Summer 1967) 74–5.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are from my conversations with Luis Valdez (1965–80).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Luis Valdez, Actos (San Juan Bautista, California: El Centro Campesino Cultural, 1971) pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    An Interview with Luis Valdez by Charles Pelton, ‘Zoot-Suiting to Hollywood; Teatro Campesino’s Luis Valdez’, Artbeat (San Francisco, December 1980) p. 28.Google Scholar

Bibliography 3. Theatre of Social Change the San Francisco Mime Troupe

  1. Davis, R.G., The San Francisco Mime Troupe: The First Ten Years (Palo Alto, California 94303: Ramparts Press, 1975) 220 pages.Google Scholar
  2. San Francisco Mime Troupe, By Popular Demand: Plays and Other Works (San Francisco: San Francisco Mime Troupe, 1980).Google Scholar
  3. Shank, Theodore, ‘Political Theatre as Popular Entertainment’, The Drama Review (T61), XVIII 1 (March 1974) 110–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. —, ‘The San Francisco Mime Troupe’s Production of “False Promises”’, Theatre Quarterly (London, TQ27), VII, 27 (Autumn 1977) 41–52.Google Scholar

Bibliography 3. Theatre of Social Change El Teatro Campesino

  1. Morton, Carlos, ‘Teatro Campesino’, The Drama Review (T64) XVIII, 4 (December 1974) 71–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Shank, Theodore, and Adele Edling Shank, ‘Chicano and Latin American Alternative Theatre’, in Popular Theater for Social Change in Latin America, edited by Gerardo Luzuriago (Los Angeles: U.C.L.A. Latin American Center, University of California, Los Angeles, 1978) pp. 213–33.Google Scholar
  3. Valdez, Luis., ‘El Teatro Campesino; Interviews’ by Beth Bagby, The Drama Review (T36), XI 4 (Summer 1967) 70–80.Google Scholar
  4. —, Actos (San Juan Bautista, California: El Centro Campesino Cultural, 1971) 145 pages.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Theodore Shank 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore Shank
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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