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Moving on

As our revised introduction over on the right of this page suggests, we are starting the process of converting this blog to a site that acts as more of a resource for the continuing study of theatre plays on British television. The formal (and funded) part of our project has come to an end, but there … Continue reading

The True Mistery of the Passion in Bristol Cathedral (BBC, 1960)

Today being Maundy Thursday in the Christian calendar prompts me to look back at a television production of a play which was transmitted on a Maundy Thursday over fifty years ago. When I was recently doing some data entry for the Screen Plays database the production caught my eye because it was staged in the unusual location of the nave of Bristol Cathedral. What a technically challenging location this may have been for the performance of a play for television transmission, with its potential complexities with regard to space, lighting and sound. The play in question is The True Mistery of the Passion, James Kirkup’s translation and adaptation of the 15th-century French mystery play Mystère de la Passion by the brothers Gréban, which seems, in this 1960 BBC production by James Acton-Bond to have achieved a remarkable intimacy, making the viewer at home feel part of the drama’s internal ‘audience’ of medieval villagers. Continue reading

In or out?

One of the key resources that we intend that Screen Plays will produce is a database of information about all of the plays produced on British television since 1930. As is appropriate at the start of a project we have been discussing our criteria for what we will include — and what will be left out. With most productions this is relatively straightforward: plays by Ibsen and Chekhov ‘in’, original television dramas by Potter and Plater ‘out’. But we have one area of difficulty: musical theatre. Continue reading