United Kingdom

Sam Haddow*, Hannah Simpson, Trish Reid, Anwen Miles Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter presents an overview of theatre in the United Kingdom through its four constituent countries. In England, established playwrights such as Caryl Churchill and Jez Butterworth were joined by newer voices such as Debbie tucker green as austerity and Brexit transformed the political scene. The intense and often savage ‘In-Yer-Face’ plays gave way to a more explicitly political drama grappling with the intensifying global crises. After a certain ‘Troubles fatigue’, Northern Irish theatre after 1989 explored post-conflict questions of cross-community interaction, the muddy relationship between individual and inherited group identity, and the performative nature of political and cultural selfhood. The most significant event in Scottish theatre in this period was the establishment of the National Theatre of Scotland in 2004. Scottish playwrights who came to prominence in the 1990s and early noughts included Gregory Burke, David Greig, Zinnie Harris, David Harrower, and Anthony Neilson. In Wales, a hybrid linguistic and political context encouraged experimentation beyond texts with physically based and site-specific theatre, for instance, in the work of Brith Gof. Between 2004 and 2009, both a Welsh language and an English-language national theatre were founded.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Contemporary European Theatre and Performance
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781000913620
ISBN (Print)9780367535919
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2023


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