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Staff appearance at ‘Theatre Plays on British Television’ conference

On 19 October 2012, Dr Ruth Adams gave a paper at a conference entitled ‘Theatre Plays on British Television’ at the University of Westminster.  The conference was organised by the AHRC-funded project Screen Plays, and tackled issues and topics within the broad area of theatre plays on British television from 1930 to the present.  Ruth’s paper was called ‘Abigail’s Party – “It’s not a question of ignorance, Laurence, it’s a question of taste’, and offered a textual and socio-cultural analysis of Mike Leigh’s iconic play, and of critical and popular responses to its various incarnations – on stage, television and video.
First produced at the Hampstead Theatre in April 1977, it was later broadcast by the BBC and was a surprise hit, attracting 16 million viewers.  While affectionately regarded by many, some critics damned it as a cruel and snobbish play, which poked fun at the social and cultural aspirations of the suburban lower-middle-classes.  Ruth posed the question of whether the play would really be looked upon so fondly by so many, if it genuinely reflected little more than the prejudices of a North London elite, and considered the impact of the post-modern valorisation of kitsch on its reception more recently.

You can read more about the conference here:  and here: and more detail about the AHRC project here:

abigails party picture

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