amateur theatre

Definition

Theater

  • Drama in which the performers and stage workers receive nopayment other than some expenses. Amateur theater has contributedgreatly to the cultural life of areas that seldom see professionalcompanies and has strong links with the fringe theater. Ithas been an important nursery of talent for the professional theaterin most countries.

    The early 20th century saw a growing interest in amateur theaterin Britain and repertory companies soon began to merge elementsof the amateur and professional traditions. In 1955, the NationalYouth Theatre was founded by the director Michael Croft to promoteamateur productions featuring child actors. Today amateur theaterthrives in university societies, such as the Oxford University DramaticSociety (OUDS), and in local societies, who often performin their own Little Theatres.

    The British Theatre Association (BTA), founded in 1919 byGeoffrey Whitworth (1883 - 1951) as the British Drama League,coordinated 'am dram' throughout the country until its demise in 1990.Its valuable library passed to the Theatre Museum (now also defunct).The BTA's representative role has been largely taken over by the National Operaticand Dramatic Association (NODA), established in 1899, which provides advice andleadership and also has a publishing arm. The International Amateur Theatre Association (IATA), based at The Hague, was founded in 1952 under the British actor and director E. Martin Browne (1900 - 80).

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