Breaking the Boundaries: The People Show, Lumiere & Son and Hesitate and Demonstrate

  • Lynn Sobieski


Neglected by British theatre critics and largely unknown to American audiences, The People Show [Photo 8], Lumiere & Son and Hesitate and Demonstrate have produced some of the most significant work seen on British stages during the past twenty-five years. Their particular form of performance, which challenges the role of text in production in order to explore the potential of theatrical imagery, is unique in context with most of British theatre which can be characterized in terms of its strong literary bias. Referred to variously as ‘performance art’, ‘theatre’ or simply as ‘performance theatre’, the work of these three companies has played a crucial role in the development of the British alternative theatre movement since the 1960s. During the 1980s and early 1990s, when drastic cuts in arts funding by the Thatcher administration resulted in the demise of countless fringe groups, the innovative work of The People Show, Lumiere & Son and Hesitate and Demonstrate has largely continued to flourish.


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Archival Material

  1. Very little has been published on the work of the People Show, Lumiere & Son and Hesitate and Demonstrate. Most of my research materials were obtained in the archives of the three companies during the summers of 1989, 1990 and 1991. The materials included rehearsal journals, reviews, publicity documents, programs, administrative notes, correspondence with the Arts Council of Great Britain, photograph etc.Google Scholar


  1. Gale, David. Former writer for Lumiere & Son. Interview by the author, London, 22 January 1982.Google Scholar
  2. Long, Mark. A founding member of the People Show. Interview by the author, London, 9 July 1991.Google Scholar
  3. Westlake, Hilary. Artistic director of Lumiere & Son. Interview by the author, London, 15 July 1991.Google Scholar
  4. Pilgrim, Geraldine. Director of Hesitate and Demonstrate. Interview by the author, London, 15 July 1991.Google Scholar

Productions seen by Author The People Show

  1. The People Show No. 75: The People Show Cabaret. London, March 1978.Google Scholar
  2. The People Show No. 79: The Hamburg Show. London, January, 1981.Google Scholar
  3. The People Show No. 82: Spaghetti: London, June 1982.Google Scholar
  4. The People Show No. 92: Whistle Stop: London, February 1987.Google Scholar
  5. The People Show No. 94: Farrago: London, July 1990.Google Scholar

Lumiere & Son

  1. Passionate Positions. London, May 1977.Google Scholar
  2. Circus Lumiere. London, July 1980.Google Scholar
  3. Slips. London, January 1982.Google Scholar
  4. Panic. London, May 1987.Google Scholar
  5. Deadwood. London, July 1988.Google Scholar

Hesitate and Demonstrate

  1. Minutes. London, April 1978.Google Scholar
  2. Excuse Me. London, February 1980.Google Scholar
  3. Goodnight Ladies. London, February 1982.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Theodore Shank 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn Sobieski
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of MichiganUSA
  2. 2.University of TexasAustinUSA
  3. 3.New York UniversityUSA

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