Making Time for Amateur Theatre: Work, Labour and Free Time

  • Helen Nicholson
  • Nadine Holdsworth
  • Jane Milling


There is a deep relationship between the patterns of working life and amateur theatre. This chapter argues that divisions between labour and leisure are often complexly configured in amateur theatre, and binaries between paid and unpaid labour, and professional and amateur identities are increasingly porous, suggesting that temporal distinctions between work and ‘free time’ demand attention. It examines the role of amateur theatre in the workplace, and using the example of Imperial Chemical Industries in Welwyn, demonstrates how amateur theatre supported by factories created life-long interest in theatre-making. The chapter takes the case study of the British Airways Cabin Crew Entertainment Society to examine the ways in which theatre-making reflects the cast’s working lives as flight attendants, and to raise broader questions about how twenty-first patterns of labour are shaping practices in amateur theatre.


Labour Leisure Free time Craft Work-life balance 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Nicholson
    • 1
  • Nadine Holdsworth
    • 2
  • Jane Milling
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Drama, Theatre and DanceRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.School of Theatre and Performance StudiesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  3. 3.Department of DramaUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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