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After the Miners’ Strike: A39 and Cornish Political Theatre versus Thatcher’s Britain - cover image


Paul Farmer




  • English


Paperback156 x 234 mm (6.14" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 234 mm (6.14" x 9.21")


  • AN
  • AFKP
  • WQH
  • J
  • JP
  • JPR
  • 1DBKE
  • HBJ
  • 3JJP


  • ART060000
  • ART037000
  • HIS015070
  • HIS054000

    After the Miners’ Strike

    A39 and Cornish Political Theatre versus Thatcher’s Britain

    • Paul Farmer (author)
    In this rich memoir, the first of two volumes, Paul Farmer traces the story of A39, the Cornish political theatre group he co-founded and ran from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Farmer offers a unique insight into A39’s creation, operation, and artistic practice during a period of convulsive political and social change.

    The reader is plunged into the national miners’ strike and the collapse of Cornish tin mining, the impact of Thatcherism and ‘Reaganomics’, and the experience of touring Germany on the brink of reunification, alongside the influence on A39 of writers Bertolt Brecht, John McGrath and Keith Johnstone. Farmer, a former bus driver turned artistic director, details the theatre group’s inception and development as it fought to break down social barriers, attract audiences, and survive with little more than a beaten-up Renault 12, a photocopier and two second-hand stage lights at its disposal: the book traces the progress from these raw materials to the development of an integrated community theatre practice for Cornwall.

    Farmer’s candour and humour enliven this unique insight into 1980s theatre and politics. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in theatre history, life in Cornwall, and the relationship between performance and society during a turbulent era.


    Farmer’s account of A39’s experimental political theatre practice in 1984–92 is an original and valuable contribution to the field of theatre and performance studies, especially political theatre history, agitprop, and working-class, socialist theatre. This is the first substantial work to account for the activities of A39 theatre, and one of the only texts looking in depth at political theatre in and about Cornwall. The book offers important food for thought on popular and effective approaches to making political theatre, while discussions of counterculture and left political organisation will be useful in theatre and labour movement studies for filling in details of a history that is currently underrepresented.

    Dr Rebecca Hillman

    Senior Lecturer, Department of Communications, Drama and Film, University of Exeter


    Paul Farmer