St Joan of the Stockyards (1974)

Alie Street
6 May - 8 Jun 1974
St Joan of the Stockyards - Poster

Saint Joan of the Stockyards was a play written by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht between 1929 and 1931. It was based on the musical that he co-authored with Elisabeth Hauptmann, Happy End (1929). In this version of the story of Joan of Arc, Brecht transformed her into ‘Joan Dark’, a member of the ‘Black Straw Hats’ (a Salvation Army-like group) in 20th-century Chicago. The play charted Joan’s battle with Pierpont Mauler, the unctuous owner of a meat-packing plant. Like her predecessor, Joan was a doomed woman, a martyr and (initially, at least) an innocent in a world of strike-breakers, fat cats, and penniless workers. Like many of Brecht’s plays it was laced with humor and songs as part of its epic dramaturgical structure and dealt with the theme of emancipation from material suffering and exploitation.

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Local teacher and writer, Chris Searle became a member of the management committee of Half Moon Theatre in Alie Street and ran the Basement Writers group. He talks about the first plays he saw at the theatre, including The Mother and St Joan Of The Stockyards. Interviewed by Toni Tsaera.

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