Beyond Belief: British Theatre and the ‘re-enchantment of the world’

  • Chris Megson


One of the notable features of twenty-first-century British drama is its preoccupation with the manifestations, existential implications and ethical possibilities of belief across varied religious and secular contexts. Drawing on the philosopher and sociologist Max Weber’s landmark lecture ‘Science as a Vocation’ (1918), which identifies ‘disenchantment’ as the presiding condition of modernity, and Simon During’s writings on ‘secular magic’, Megson shows how the encounter with belief in contemporary theatre raises vital questions about its capacity to enchant, delude or transform social reality at the present juncture. The chapter includes detailed analysis of Rob Drummond’s Bullet Catch (Arches, 2009), Lucy Prebble’s Enron (Royal Court, 2009) and Mike Bartlett’s 13 (National Theatre, 2011).


Bartlett Belief Drummond Enchantment Illusion Magic Playwriting Prebble 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Megson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Drama and TheatreRoyal Holloway University of LondonLondonUK

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