Mother Courage and her Children

Mother Courage and her Children

The left wing Unity Theatre Company and Communist influenced writer Bertolt Brecht were a perfect match for one another. In 1958, Unity produced the English language premiere of Brecht's Mother Courage and her Children.

Set in the 1630s, the play follows Mother Courage as she trails along with the Swedish armies through the terrible Thirty Years' War with her mobile canteen and three children, each by a different man. By the time he wrote 'Mother Courage' in 1939, Brecht had fully developed his dramatic theory of the alienation effect. As Unity's aim was to help in the struggle for world peace and a better social and economic order, the concept that the audience should be forced to think about the play's relation to reality was a useful one. Unity borrowed the costumes from the Theatre Workshop, Stratford, which had presented the play in Barnstaple, but without a full orchestral score.

This photograph has Helena Stevens (left) as Mother Courage and Sara Randall as Yvette Pottier from the 1958 production.