Rehearsing Revolutions is a welcome addition to the neglected history of young worker-actors on the left. It serves, for one thing, as a companion text to Colette A. Hyman’s Staging Strikes: Workers’ Theater and the American Labor Movement (1997). In her examination, McAvoy mines numerous archives of the key residential colleges that boldly experimented with performance art. To that end, she provides chapters on storied programs such as Brookwood’s in upstate New York (1928–37). The author balances that inquiry both pedagogically and demographically by examining the theater arts at Commonwealth College (1923–40) in Mena, Arkansas, and the Highlander School in Knox, Tennessee, founded in 1934 and active to this day. Many of these institutions were supported by left-wing philanthropists and trade unions’ Worker Education Bureaus (WEB). In her typically nuanced way, the author distinguishes between organizations with a craft emphasis such...
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Book Review| March 01 2021
Rehearsing Revolutions: The Labor Drama Experiment and Radical Activism in the Early Twentieth Century by Mary McAvoy
Rehearsing Revolutions: The Labor Drama Experiment and Radical Activism in the Early Twentieth Century, McAvoy, Mary,
University of Iowa Press,
2019, ix + 260 pp., illus., $90.00 (paper)
Labor (2021) 18 (1): 121–122.
Laura Hapke; Rehearsing Revolutions: The Labor Drama Experiment and Radical Activism in the Early Twentieth Century by Mary McAvoy. Labor 1 March 2021; 18 (1): 121–122. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-8767519
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