Country Life

Love and dedication can conquer all

CRITICS are often snooty about amateur theatre. Kenneth Tynan described it as ‘an exhibitionist alternative to bridge’ and James Agate, in his heyday at The Sunday Times, used to say that the difference between amateur and professional actors was that the former lacked the technique to convey emotion when they felt it, whereas the latter had the skill to express it even when they didn’t.

Now, a critic, Michael Coveney, has come along with a richly entertaining and informative book, Questors, Jesters and Renegades (Methuen), that at last does justice to the massive contribution of amateur theatre to national life.

‘Both are

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