‘Devine Intervention: Collaboration and Conspiracy in the History of the Royal Court’

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Taryn Storey believes that a series of letters recently discovered in the archive of the Arts Council of Great Britain (ACGB) makes it important that we reassess the genesis of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court. Dating from November 1952, the correspondence between George Devine and William Emrys Williams, the Secretary General of the ACGB, offers an insight into a professional and personal relationship that was to have a profound influence on the emerging Arts Council policy for drama. Storey makes the case that in 1953 Devine not only shaped his Royal Court proposal to fit the priorities of the ACGB Drama Panel, but that Devine and senior members of the ACGB then collaborated to ensure that the proposal became a key part of Arts Council strategic planning. Furthermore, she puts forward the argument that the relationship between Devine and Williams was instrumental to new writing and innovation becoming central to the future rationale for state subsidy to the theatre. Taryn Storey is a doctoral student at the University of Reading. Her PhD thesis examines the relationship between practice and policy in the development of new writing in post-war British theatre, and forms part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Giving Voice to the Nation: The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Development of Theatre and Performance in Britain 1945–1995’, a collaboration between the University of Reading and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-378
Number of pages16
JournalNew Theatre Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2012


  • Arts Council of Great Britain, New Writing, Funding, Arts Policy, Civic Culture, Royal Court Theatre, Live Theatre, Belgrade Theatre, Artistic Risk, George Devine,
  • New writing
  • George Devine
  • W.E Williams
  • Repertory Theatre


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