A thumbnail sketch
Although based in the English department, the group is open to all students of the university. It is not a club. There is no fixed membership. One play is usually presented every semester, the group consisting of all those who have a role in the current production. In practice, each production’s cast consists of roughly a third who have played in two or more productions, a third who have already been in one production, and a third who are entirely new. The director has been there since the beginning.
The university has no central theatre, but the English Theatre Group does at least have its own space in the basement of the Conti campus. The performance room being fairly small with a low ceiling, conditions are far from ideal, but the upside of the situation is that performances are extremely intimate: no spectator sits further than three rows from the performance area.
The conditions influence the production style, which tends to be economical, minimalistic and basic with regard to scenery, sound and lighting. Another decisive influence on production style and choice of play is the fact that there are usually at least fifteen people eager to participate, the majority of them women. Most modern plays in English have relatively small (and predominantly male) casts and are more or less naturalistic in that they do not work well if women play male parts. The group therefore tends to favour non-naturalistic drama, as can be seen from the production history.