Flyer for a Benefit Social evening by Banner Theatre during the 1984 – 1985 Miners’ strike, Birmingham City Archives

Wednesday 23rd May at 6.30pm
‘A Biased History of Political Theatre’, talk by Frances Rifkin at the People’s Bookshop, Durham 

As part of artist-in-residence Margareta Kern’s project, theatre director Frances Rifkin will be speaking at the People’s Bookshop, and running a one-day workshop on the Theatre of the Oppressed.

Frances will visit the history of political theatre in the UK – including Banner Theatre, Birmingham, where she was a director in the 1980s – from the point of view of her involvement as a theatre activist in the anti-fascist movements, disputes and strikes of the time. The intention however is not to evoke nostalgic reminiscence, nor victory-defeat narratives of the Left, but to look at what might be learnt and applied in the context of today.

Frances Rifkin, artistic director of Utopia Arts is a cultural worker and director in Political and Community theatre. In the 1970s she was director of Recreation Ground Theatre Company and in the 1980s she was director of Banner Theatre, Birmingham and participated as a theatre activist in the anti-fascist movements, disputes and strikes of the time. She trained extensively with Augusto Boal in the early 1990s and works as a workshop leader. Between 1992 and 1997, she was lecturer in Community and workshop theatre in Theatre Studies at Warwick and Lancaster Universities. Currently she is working with the Centre for Possible Studies at the Serpentine Gallery on a project that explores the relationship between political speech and action through a series of experimental theatre workshops. She is also working with the artist Laura Malacart on a project with autistic adults funded by the Welcome Institute.


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