7:84 Theatre Company England

“Ignore Wikipedia , a full history of 7:84 is still to be written. Founded by John McGrath in 1971 the success of  “The Cheviot” led to the Scottish company forming its own branch. But the remaining company, which became known as 7:84 England, continued to thrive until 1986, when its very existence as a political theatre company of the left was an anathema to the new politics of  the Thatcher  regime. The company’s final show was effectively THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND, and, symbolically the company marched its banner back with the defeated miners of the Betteshanger Colliery , after a year on the road rallying support for the miner’s cause. So effective had we become that 7:84 England was named in the House of Commons as a company  no longer to be funded by the state, and so ended pluralism. Despite the rallying of many of the most significant theatre figures to our cause the government remained determined in its opposition. The story in Scotland was different – with the active compliance of the Scottish Arts Council, John McGrath was removed from his position and the company continued with some success as a touring theatre for new writing – but divorced from John’s original vision of creating a truly popular theatre.” Robert Rae