Pamela Brown's The Swish of the Curtain

A Programme for Life?

  • Juliet McMaster University of Alberta
Keywords: juvenilia, child writer, child author, drama education, home theatricals, BBC drama, women writer, children's literature, life writing


Pamela Brown published her novel The Swish of the Curtain in 1941 when she was only sixteen, and it has had remarkable staying power, outlasting the many books she published as an adult, and achieving adaptation on radio and television. The novel has also given its name to a chain of drama programs for children across England. Brown’s well-told tale of a group of stage-struck teenagers who luck into a theatre and proceed to stage successful productions has some autobiographical elements, as she draws on her own stage activities with her friends in Colchester (fictionalised as “Fenchester”). But, interestingly, she made the progress of her characters a model for herself, and proceeded to carve out a similar path towards Drama School, a career on stage, and authorship. 

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