Epic Theatre

Epic theatre began in Germany in the early 20th century with Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht. Working independently and together on a number of projects during the 1920s, mostly in Berlin, both practitioners developed their own brand of this radical new theatre form. Largely anti-realistic in style, epic theatre aimed to politically educate the German working class using an intellectual mode of delivery with limited emotion. Brecht’s epic theatre saw stages that were sparsely populated with few set pieces, signs, visible stage machinery, open white light and basic costumes. Piscator’s theatre, however, employed the full use of technology, huge multi-level sets, ramps, treadmills and projection in an expressionistic style. – Justin Cash

Learn.co.uk Brief explanation of epic theatre with activities.

University of Durham Table examining the similarities and differences between the ‘dramatic theatre’ and epic theatre, plus quotations and explanations from Bertolt Brecht’s story “A Short Organum for the Theatre”.

University of Missouri Table examining the similarities and differences between the ‘dramatic theatre’ and epic theatre; ‘dramatic opera’ and ‘epic opera’.

University of Southern Queensland Basic concepts of epic theatre.

VTheatre.net Excerpts of notes and resources on various aspects of epic theatre.

What is Epic Theatre? Brief explanation of Bertolt Brecht’s theatre.

Wikipedia Useful explanation of the major aims and techniques of Bertolt Brecht’s theories behind his epic theatre.

Wikipedia Outline of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘V-effect’ (verfremdungseffekt), sometimes known as ‘alienation effect’.

Wikipedia Entry on the concept of ‘the fourth wall’ in the theatre, something Bertolt Brecht’s epic theatre often ‘broke through’.