Blue Blouses

Definition

Theater

  • Soviet workers' theater groups of the 1920s that toured withstylized agitprop plays laden with official propaganda. Thename referred to the loose blue smocks worn by factory workers. BorisYuzhanin founded the first troupe in 1923 at the Moscow Institutefor Journalism. The companies presented a type of Living Newspaper,using songs and sketches to review current events from a communistperspective.

    By the mid 1920s more than 5,000 troupes of professional andamateur Blue Blouses existed with some 100,000 members. Plays werepresented in factories, clubs, government halls, and outdoor settings.The well-known playwright and poet Sergei Tretyakov (1892 - 1939)promoted the groups but spoke out against the heavy didacticism. In1927 the Soviet authorities merged the Blue Blouses with the moreconventional TRAM drama organization.

    The Chinese workers' theaters created in 1950 after the Russianexample also included groups known as Blue Blouses. Even in Americathe workers' theater movement included one company named the BlueBlouses.

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