Bertolt Brecht

By Meg Mumford

© 2009 – Routledge

208 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415375092
pub: 2008-11-21
Hardback: 9780415375085
pub: 2008-11-21

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Routledge Performance Practitioners is a series of introductory guides to the key theatre-makers of the last century. Each volume explains the background to and the work of one of the major influences on twentieth- and twenty-first-century performance.

Bertolt Brecht is amongst the world’s most profound contributors to the theory and practice of theatre. His methods of collective experimentation and his unique framing of the theatrical event as a forum for aesthetic and political change continue to have a significant impact on the work of performance practitioners, critics and teachers alike. This is the first book to combine:

  • an overview of the key periods in Brecht's life and work
  • a clear explanation of his key theories, including the renowned ideas of Gestus and Verfremdung
  • an account of his groundbreaking 1954 production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle
  • an in-depth analysis of Brecht's practical exercises and rehearsal methods

As a first step towards critical understanding, and as an initial exploration before going on to further, primary research, Routledge Performance Practitioners are unbeatable value for today’s student.

Meg Mumford is a lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at The University of New South Wales, Australia. She has published widely on the subject of Brecht’s theatre and contemporary appropriations of his theory and practice.


'This is a very useful volume which goes far beyond its ambit as a mere introduction. It offers novel, perceptive, and enlivening insights into the very practical concerns a student may have about Brecht without dismissing the theories as irrelevant appendages to the plays.' - Modern Language Review

'What makes Meg Mumford's new text, Bertolt Brecht, a 'must have' - especially for secondary educators and theatre students - is that here, all these angles are concisely drawn together with an accessible tone and structure, and with pithy key points of analysis… This book exhibits depth as well as clarity… This is a thorough, informative read for theatre educators and students, and a great read in terms of an illustrated twentieth-century life story.' - M/C Reviews

'Mumford offers brilliant explanations of difficult Brechtian theoretical concepts' - Choice

'Meg Mumford covers ample ground with a sure footedness that has left this reviewer smiling with delight. A wish to demystify Brecht, to prise him out of the political or literary clutches of the jargonists, has motivated my teaching for more than thirty years, but I never managed it as effectively as this.' - Studies in Theatre Production

'… Brecht’s changing and contradictory writings on Gestus and Verfremdung are successfully explored within the context of her fascinating case study of the 1954 production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle …'- New Theatre Quarterly, Tom Cantrell

'The book can be highly recommended to students new to Brecht, and also to teachers: I found the practical workshop worked brilliantly with a group of first year undergraduates in what was for many their first practical exploration of Brecht’s work.'- New Theatre Quarterly, Tom Cantrell

‘Mumford achieves a rare clarity and specificity in her discussions of Gestus and Verfremdung …’ - The Brecht Yearbook, Julie Jackson

About the Author

Meg Mumford is Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of New South Wales. She has published widely on the subject of Brecht's theatre and contemporary appropriations of his theory and practice.

About the Series

Routledge Performance Practitioners

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
DRAMA / Continental European
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism