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Aleks Sierz's book In-Yer-Face Theatre: British Drama Today was published by Faber and Faber on 5 March 2001. Since then, it has been reprinted twice. And is now even on Wikipedia!

It is available from at a discount.

The pitch: today's British theatre has witnessed an explosion of provocative plays by a brat pack of twentysomethings, a Generation X of new writers whose debuts startled critics and audiences with their heady mix of sex, violence and street-poetry.

In-Yer-Face Theatre was and is the first book to look at this exciting outburst of creativity, controversy and theatrical innovation. It argues that plays such as Trainspotting, Blasted and Shopping and Fucking are much more than a collection of shock tactics - taken together, they represent a consistent critique of modern life, one which focuses on the problem of violence, the questioning of masculinity, the myth of post-feminism and the futility of consumerism.

The book contains extensive interviews with playwrights, and examines their work, giving a real feel of what it's like to watch cutting-edge drama come alive on stage. Writers discussed include Simon Block, Jez Butterworth, David Eldridge, Harry Gibson, Nick Grosso, Sarah Kane, Tracy Letts, Martin McDonagh, Patrick Marber, Phyllis Nagy, Anthony Neilson, Joe Penhall, Rebecca Prichard, Mark Ravenhill, Philip Ridley, Judy Upton, Che Walker, Naomi Wallace and Richard Zajdlic (see below). Viva the playwright!



In-Yer-Face Theatre

List of contents


Chapter 1: what is in-yer-face theatre?
A short history of provocation
The nasty nineties

Chapter 2: come to the shock-fest
Philip Ridley's Ghost from a Perfect Place
Phyllis Nagy's Butterfly Kiss
Tracy Letts's Killer Joe
Harry Gibson's Trainspotting

Chapter 3: Anthony Neilson
The Censor

Chapter 4: Sarah Kane
Phaedra's Love

Chapter 5: Mark Ravenhill
Shopping and Fucking
Faust Is Dead, Sleeping Around and Handbag
Some Explicit Polaroids

Chapter 6: boys together
Naomi Wallace's The War Boys
Jez Butterworth's Mojo
Simon Block's Not a Game for Boys
David Eldridge's Serving It Up

Chapter 7: sex wars
Nick Grosso's Peaches and Sweetheart
Patrick Marber's Closer
Che Walker's Been So Long
Richard Zajdlic's Dogs Barking

Chapter 8: battered and bruised
Joe Penhall's Some Voices
Judy Upton's Ashes and Sand and Bruises
Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Rebecca Prichard's Yard Gal



• Now see updates on the new writing scene

Plus: other books in this new writing bibliography

More Sierz...
















First edition

What's in-yer-face theatre?
The nasty nineties
New writing A-Z
Hot hits
What's on
Further info