British theatre of the past fifty years has been brilliant, varied, and controversial, encompassing invigorating indigenous drama, politically didactic writing, the formation of such institutions as the National Theatre, the exporting of musicals worldwide from the West End, and much more. This entertaining and authoritative book is the first comprehensive account of British theatre in this period. Dominic Shellard moves chronologically through the half-century, discussing important plays, performers, directors, playwrights, critics, censors, and agents as well as the social, political, and financial developments that influenced the theatre world. Drawing on previously unseen material (such as the Kenneth Tynan archives), first-hand testimony, and detailed research, Shellard tackles several long-held assumptions about drama of the period. He questions the dominance of Look Back in Anger in the 1950s, arguing that much of the theatre of the ten years prior to its première in 1956 was vibrant and worthwhile. He suggests that theatre criticism, theatre producers, and such institutions as the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company have played key roles in the evolution of recent drama. And he takes a fresh look at the work of Terence Rattigan, Harold Pinter, Joe Orton, Alan Ayckbourn, Timberlake Wertenbaker, and other significant playwrights of the modern era. The book will be a valuable resource not only for students of theatre history but also for any theatre enthusiast.