We are pleased to announce the publication of a major new anthology of the theatre works of Charles Causley. Theatre Works, edited by Dr Alan M. Kent, Lecturer in Literature with the Open University, was published on 1 June 2013. The volume is the result of several years of work by the editor at the Charles Causley collection held in the University of Exeter’s Modern Literary Papers archive, and was part funded by research money awarded to Dr Kent by the Open University. Although some of the eleven plays anthologised were published and performed during Causley’s life, several remained unpublished and unknown until now. The volume places Causley into the forefront of post-war British dramatists. The book was launched at the Charles Causley festival in Launceston at the beginning of June.
Among the highlights of the collection are Causley’s masterpiece, The Ballad of Aucassin and Nicolette, an adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ The Doctor and the Devils and work titled The Tinderbox, created for Cornwall’s Kneehigh Theatre – an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen folktale. Additionally, there are dramas which are inspired by musical theatre and opera, as well as those which fall into the mystery play tradition of Britain.
The collection has been assembled by Dr Alan M. Kent. Of the new volume, he said, “This is a major addition to the canon of Causley’s work. If we think of the adult verse being one third of the total, the children’s verse being another third, then the theatre works form the final third of his output.”
Dr Kent added, “To me, Causley is a neglected figure in modern British drama. Like Tony Harrison, Causley is a proponent of verse drama and perhaps that has made him out of step with modern sensibilities. However, all of the hallmarks of Causley’s beautifully efficient verse are found in his plays. People who love his poetry will find work that matches the greatest achievements of his poetic output.”
Interest in Causley has seen something of a revival over the past few years with an annual literary festival held in his home town of Launceston, as well as more of his work being celebrated within the curriculum. A Carousal of Causley event at the Hall for Cornwall showed the performance possibilities of Causley’s work, as well as showing a revival of his play The Tinderbox.
Charles Causley Theatre Works ISBN 978 1 903427 77 4 Paperback 484 pages £14.99