Questors, Jesters and Renegades : The Story of Britain's Amateur Theatre
Shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize 2021This is the vital story of the amateur theatre as it developed from the medieval guilds to the modern theatre of Ayckbourn and Pinter, with a few mishaps and missed cues along the way. Michael Coveney - a former member of Ilford's Renegades - tells this tale with a charm and wit that will have you shouting out for an encore. This is the first account of its kind, packed with anecdote and previously unheard stories, and it shows how amateur theatre is more than a popular pastime: it has been endemic to the birth of the National Theatre, as well as a seedbed of talent and a fascinating barometer and product of the times in which we live. Some of the companies Coveney delves into - all taking centre stage in this entertaining and lively book - include the Questors and Tower Theatre in London; Birmingham's Crescent Theatre; The Little Theatre in Bolton, where Ian McKellen was a schoolboy participant; Lincolnshire's Broadbent Theatre, co-founded by Jim Broadbent's father and other conscientious objectors at the end of World War II; and Cornwall's stunning cliff-top Minack.