Reminder: Call for Abstracts--In-Yer-Face: Remnants of a Theatrical Revolution

deadline for submissions: 
August 21, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
William Boles
contact email: 

After In-Yer-Face: Remnants of a Theatrical Revolution



By the time 1995 gave way to 1996, it was clear that something groundbreaking was afoot in the British theatre.  1995 had seen the premiere of Sarah Kane’s Blasted, Jez Butterworth’s Mojo, Joe Penhall’s Pale Horse, and Judy Upton’s Bruises.  1996 would feature the London premiere of Trainspotting, Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking, Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Cripple of Inishmaan as well as Kane’s Phaedra’s Love and Nick Grosso’s Sweetheart.  Critics excitedly competed to find the defining moniker to capture this dramatic force.  Aleks Sierz’s In-Yer-Face became the defining term of a theatre that redefined the subject matter and audience composition of British theatre, as the boundaries of what theatre could be and should be were pushed to dramatic lengths.  Young playwrights were all the rage.  Young people were in the audience.  And theatre, once again, became cool.


And then, seemingly, in a flash In-Yer-Face was over.


This edited volume, currently under consideration with Palgrave Press, will allow authors to look back at In-Yer-Face from a two-decade distance to re-evaluate one of the defining parts of the “Cool Britannia” era as well as look at what came after for not only the playwrights identified as part of the movement but also the British theatre in the first two decades of the 21st century.  While some of the authors have received and continue to receive a great deal of critical consideration (Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill, Jez Butterworth, and Martin McDonagh), there are a number of other authors who have not received the same amount of attention and deserve scholarly consideration, including Simon Bent, Samuel Adamson, Judy Upton, Rebecca Prichard, Che Walker, Anthony Neilson, David Eldridge, Philip Ridley and others.  The volume welcomes chapters about/interviews with the latter authors but will also consider chapters that provide a new perspective of the former authors. In addition, certain productions came to be major touchstones of the movement, including Douglas Hodge’s Trainspotting and Ben Elton’s Popcorn.  Chapters on production history are also welcome.


Other topics are also of interest when it comes to In-Yer-Face and beyond:


The lingering influences of In-Yer-Face theatre on British theatre.


The influences of In-Yer-Face on other national theatres.


The influence of In-Yer-Face on current playwrights (British and non-British).


Have the In-Yer-Face writers sold out, recognizing that Joe Penhall wrote a successful West End musical about The Kinks and Mark Ravenhill adapted Nation to be the National Theatre’s Christmas Play, and Jez Butterworth is writing Cruella, about Cruella de Ville, for Disney Studios?


How did the In-Yer-Face movement prepare the writers for scripting television shows?


What will be the lasting value of the In-Yer-Face writers, especially when considered in contrast to other great movements in the 20th century of British theatre?



Please send a 250-word abstract to William Boles ( by August 21, 2017.


If accepted, finished chapters of 5000 words will be due by December 15, 2017.


In addition, please include your status (faculty, graduate student, etc.), institutional affiliation, and postal address.


Any inquiries, please contact William Boles (