Books for Independent Thinkers

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The plays in this book came about through the unique work done in schools by Peter Mortimer – creating pieces of drama through workshops in which the pupils themselves turned creators, producers, actors. The youngsters helped to create the plot, characters and style of each play, were often involved in costume/set design as well as producing programmes and posters, and acted out the finished roles.

The plays’ themes, all of which are run through with humour, include the pitfalls of winning the lottery, the trappings of power, and global pollution as seen through an alien invasion; and the settings are as diverse as a circus, a sealed palace where nothing has ever changed, and a beach in Brazil.

All these plays were given public performances, often in professional theatres. This approach gave the pupils an involvement in and commitment to the plays which no ordinary drama class could offer. In an age of increasingly narrow school curricula, Playtime is the proof of the rewards that such a risky, often terrifying approach can bring.

Peter Mortimer is a poet, playwright, editor, and traveller who has lived in the north-east of England since 1970. Over the last two decades more than twenty of his plays for adults have been produced. In 1973 he founded Iron Press and he remains editor to this day. In addition to three poetry collections, he has published various ‘extreme’ books, the most recent of which is Camp Shatila, describing the two months he spent living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut (Five Leaves, 2009).

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