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Anselm Heinrich completed his PhD, on comparative theatre history, at the University of Hull before being appointed Research Associate to the AHRC-funded project on Ruskinian Theatre: The Aesthetics of the Late 19th Century Popular London Stage 1870-1900 at Lancaster University. At the time of this lecture, he was Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow and his study on regional theatre in Britain and Germany was being prepared for joint publication by the Society and the University of Hertfordshire Press.
In this paper, Dr Heinrich examined the radical changes theatre underwent after 1939. From being regarded as independent business ventures which gave the public what it wanted by producing a largely superficial fare, theatres came to be seen as powerful propagandistic tools with an educational mission. It can be argued that the emerging concept of state subsidies and municipal arts provision, which pointed at the long-term future, is also proof of a new understanding of theatre's role in society, modelled on central European ideas.
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8th May 2008