Public Production:Research

This term I have been put on the public production of Third year Ba Actors performing After the Dance.

The production will be running from the 23rd to the 26th of November and tickets can be found here:

Knowing what play we are working on allows us to get to work researching that particular play and the contextual research surrounding when it is being set.

I began by researching about the play specifically.

After The Dance was written by Terrance Rattigan.

After the Dance is set in the late 1930’s, and is set around the young bourgeois of this time period, following the lives of three main characters as their lives become intertwined.

It focuses on the lives of “Bright Young Things” a term nickname used often in the media during this period to describe a new group of rebellious bohemian young aristocrats and societies in 1920’s and 1930’s London. These young adults were the beginning of the “teenager”.

These young adults through eleborate fancy dress party, drank heavily and took drugs.

It has been argued that these young people were lead astray when they were expected to make their own way within society without proper supervision, the adults and parents who were supposed to tech them how to behave properly had been lost in the First World War; and so there were no role models for these young adults as they were growing up.

After the Dance was first perfomed in 1939 in the St James Theatre in London; where is had a bad reception.

After the Dance was also made in to a BBC television production in 1992.

After the Dance was also performed at the Royal National Theatre and recieved amazing reviews, and was very well received with notable actors like Benedict Cumberbatch performing.

The 1930’s saw the Great Depression which began when the stock markets crashed in October 1929. Following this consumer spending slowed and investments dropped. The American industries did not really recover until World War II kicked american industrial in to high gear.

Despite the Great Depression great innovations in fashion were still seen. 1920’s and 30’s fashion gave way to longer hemlines and waists that returned to the natural position on the body.

Film became increasingly popular and many women wanted the fashion of movies stars such as Jean Harlow.

Designers began to experiment with new cuts on material, like the biast cut pioneered by Madeleine Vionnet.

Madeline Vionnet liberated the body from stays and corsets. She drew inspiration from Greek art, creating dresses that clung to the body.


She believed that a dress must take on the personality of the person wearing the dress.

Known as the Queen of draping and attributed with inventing the use of the bias cut, here dresses has a fluidity with which they moved.

Characteristic of Vionnet’s design were the handkercheif dress, cowl neck and the halter top.

As part of my research I also went to Eltham palace an English Heritage property from the 16th century that was abandoned during the English revolution, and bought again in 1930’s by the Courtauld family.

They converted the old Tudor house in to a new house that displayed the best Art Deco design and technology at the time, as well as preserving some of the beautiful Tudor structure. A house that is an odd mixture of the old and the new all in one.

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For my research I was trying to get the broadest range possible to help me get a real authentic over view of the time period that After the Dance is set.



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