Excellent--and long--"think piece" in the Guardian by Jay Rayner on Where are the Right Wing Playwrights? Or even just conservative playwrights.
One of the dying breed, Julian ("Gosford Park") Fellowes sizes things up:
'Very simply put,' he says, 'after the Second World War the avant-garde became the establishment. That meant that no one was poking fun at the establishment any more because they approved of it.'
So is it a conspiracy? 'Absolutely not. I don't want to give the impression that there's some plot going on. It's just become impossible not to be a socialist within the artistic community these days.' He recalls emerging from drama school in the Seventies and realising he didn't fit in. 'Suddenly being young meant being left-wing, because if you were to the right you were a boring old fart.' And that, he says, has not changed despite changes in government. The problem, he says, isn't too much theatre from the left: it's a simple lack of it from the right. 'There's something profoundly non-intellectual about it. Any reasonably free society must allow for a range of views, and we don't have that.'
Here, here, I think.
I'm glad Michael Billington is quoted to remind us that conservativism does at least have one representative left in the theatre. And he happens to be still probably the most beloved playwright in the English language. His name is Tom Stoppard.My theory has always been that somewhere after the 60s, conservatives simply felt dissuaded enough from entering theatre, or the arts, that they're just not writing and/or submitting the plays. I also have to wonder if conservatives are on average less willing to toil away for no money and no reward? (Then again, once you assume conservatives are wealthier or value money more, then why aren't they at least taking up playwriting as a leisurely hobby!)
Then again, you do have to wonder, how many NYC Artistic Directors would green-light a script that, say, attacked the Democratic Party...from the right. Or that questioned the welfare state. That faulted unions for the working man's lot?
Hey, I would attack all these positions in my review. But I wouldn't mind seeing the plays!