User talk:Neale

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Help with Editing the New Theatre History Wiki

Below are some formatting guidelines to help keep the New Theatre History site consistent.

The main rule is to keep it as simple as possible. People may view this site on phones with tiny screens or on large screens. It's inappropriate to design a page for only one type of display.

The Mediawiki Markup Language

Mediawiki uses a markup language. It's just text. The idea of markup is make content easy to read and edit, without requiring a complex What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) editor like Microsoft Word. WYSIWYG works sometimes for printed pages, but doesn't work for variable screen sizes.

When your web browser requests a page, the Mediawiki server translates the markup into HTML before sending it to your client browser.

Some Mediawiki markup is very simple (see #Headings, or #Bold Text), and some looks like HTML (see #Styles, #Images or #Block Quotes).


When you are logged in, you see an Edit link in the menu at the top of the page, and sometimes Edit links for particular sections. Click on the Edit link and a web form appears with the source text inside. Edit the text, then click Show Preview to see what it will look like, or Save Page to save it.

To see how a page is formatted, just click Edit to view the source markup.

You can edit the page source in the page editing web form. In the page editing web form, there are buttons for special operations. These just insert a bit of template text. They don't really help with the content. It's easier just to learn the markup and type it in. We use a subset of the small number of markup options.

It's easier and more reliable to use a good text editor. You're not cramped by the limited space in the web form, and you have more editing features.

Free editors include:

  • Windows
    • Notepad++ (free)
    • Vim (free) Use the gVim Easy option for familiar Windows editing controls.
  • Mac
    • Textmate (free)
    • BBEdit (30 day free evaluation, then free with limited but adequate feature set, pay for extended features)

Copy the text from the web form to your text editor, edit it, then copy back from the text editor to the web form. You can save a local copy of your text file for added safety.

You can move a section by cutting and pasting in the editor.

For general help with media wiki formatting, see:


Internal Links

To create a link to an internal page in the New Theatre History wiki, place the page name inside double square brackets:

[[Main Page]]


Main Page

To make the text that appears in the link different to the page name, place link text after a vertical bar:

[[Main Page | New Theatre History Home ]]


New Theatre History Home

External Links

External links are different. Place a URL inside single square brackets. For different link text, type a space after the URL then the link text.

[ New Theatre Web Site]


New Theatre Web Site

Links within a Page

You can link to a heading within the same page.

Use the internal link notation with a # character before the heading:

See: [[#Internal Links]]


See: #Internal Links

Creating and Linking to an Anchor in an Internal Page

In some cases, you might wish to specify a place in a page as the destination of a link. This is called an anchor. If it's a heading, the anchor is automatically created. See above, #Links within a Page. If not, you can create an anchor:

<span id="myAnchor"></span>

The span tag is invisible in the page, because the span tag has no text content, but you can link to it. For example, if the anchor id is metroVickersPix, in the Worker Players page:

[[The Worker Players#metroVickersPix | The Worker Players]]


The Worker Players

Linking to a File

See Uploading and Linking to a PDF

QV Links

Instead of saying 'qv' (q.v. quod vide, i.e. see) you can just link. Then the reader doesn't have to go looking for the reference.

For example, in the Person - Marie Armstrong page, instead of writing:

married John Armstrong (qv).

you can write

married [[Person - John Armstrong|John Armstrong]].

The page name is before the | character, and the text that appears as link text is after the | character.

Examples: see:


Wiki pages are grouped under namespaces. All the New Theatre History pages are in the (Main) namespace.

When you link from a page to another page in the same namespace, you don't have to specify the namespace. When you link to a page in a different namespace, the namespace, followed by a colon, precedes the page name.

For example:


Page Names

To distinguish detailed history pages from persons of interest pages, and play pages, and so on, the convention is :

  • Persons of Interest page:
    • Person - person name - e.g. Person - John Armstrong
  • Selected Productions page:
    • Play - play name - e.g. Play - The Crucible
    • Revue - review name - e.g. - e.g. Revue - Marx of Time
  • Detailed History Page:
    • <decade> - page name ( e.g. The 1980s - Women )

These are just prefixes to create unique page names. All pages are in the (Main) namespace.

Creating a New Page

In an existing page, e.g. Main Page, create a link to the new page:

[[New Page]]

When you save the page with the link, and click on the link, a form opens to create the new page.

Changing a Page Name or Moving a Page

When you want to rename a page, you need to consider the links that might exist to that page. You could just copy the contents to a page with the new name, but then the links to the old page name would no longer work.

To change a page name, click More/Move in the top menu.

Leave the namespace as (Main). Type the new title in the text box to the right of the (Main) namespace.

Add a reason if you like.

Ensure Leave a redirect behind is ticked. This means that links to the old name will now redirect to the new name.

Click move Page to complete the move.


Redirecting One Page to Another

Sometimes you may create links that go to the wrong page. If you want to avoid changing the old links, you can create a redirect page.

This is a page with a name corresponding to the wrong link. It contains a redirect to the correct page. When a reader clicks on the wrong link, they end up on the right page.


As an example, I did this for the "David Futcher" page.

At the very top of the "David Futcher" page, there's a redirect:

#REDIRECT [[Person - David Futcher]]

Now, if you go the "Person - Wilf Beaver" page and click the link to the "David Futcher" page, it goes directly to the "Person - David Futcher" page, with a notice at the top that it has been redirected, and a link to the old "David Futcher" page.

If you click the "David Futcher" redirected link, it shows the old "David Futcher" page, with a Redirection notice at the top.


A redirect is the solution if you already have a wrong page and a right page, and you want the links to the wrong page to go to the right page.

What if you have created a page with the wrong name, but you haven't yet created the page with the right name?

You don't have to create a new page and copy the content from the old one. You can "move" the old page to the new page.

See #Changing a Page Name or Moving a Page

If you have already made links somewhere to the old page, they're redirected to the new page, as described above.


Leave a blank line to start a new paragraph.

paragraph 1
not a new paragraph

paragraph 2


paragraph 1 not a new paragraph

paragraph 2


Headings are formatted with the heading on a separate line, at the left edge of the page, surrounded by = characters, to the number of the heading level:

= Heading Level 1 = 

== Heading Level 2 ==

=== Heading Level 3 ===



Heading Level 1

Heading Level 2

Heading Level 3


Bold Text

Surround text by three apostrophes:


Result: bold

Bullet List

These are handy for a hierarchical list, such as the Main Page detailed history contents. Use unordered list markup:

* List level 1 
** List level 2
* List level 1 again
** List level 2 again
*** List level 3


  • List level 1
    • List level 2
  • List level 1 again
    • List level 2 again
      • List level 3


Use the <gallery> tag to format images. You can specify one or more images, and specify a caption. When you have several images, they appear side by side on large displays but wrap vertically on smaller displays. See the bottom of The Worker Players page.


<gallery  heights="300px" mode="packed">
1933.7 Metro-Vickers trial.jpg | Metro-Vickers trial, Moscow, 1933
1933.7 Metro-Vickers.jpg | The Moscow Trial of the Metro-Vickers Workers, poster

Each line in the gallery tag content specifies an image file, followed by a | character, then a caption.

Find the image file in the File List page. To upload a new image, use the Upload file page.

The heights="300px" attribute specifies a height of 300 pixels, so if images appear side by side the heights are consistent. The mode="packed" attribute specifies no margins around the pictures.

Navigation header and footer

The navigation header and footer provide links to navigate back and forward in the hierarchy of pages. You have to add them manually.

Detailed History Section Header and Footer

For the Detailed History section, the header and footer have links to the previous page and the next page.

Example from The 1930s - Social Problems:

[[Main Page|New Theatre History Home]] | '''Previous''': [[Agit-prop and Street Theatre]] | '''Next''': [[The 1930s - War and its Consequences]]
(Page content)
[[Main Page|New Theatre History Home]] | '''Previous''': [[Agit-prop and Street Theatre]] | '''Next''': [[The 1930s - War and its Consequences]]

Persons of Interest Section Header and Footer

It's the same for every page in the Persons of Interest section:

[[Main Page|New Theatre Home]] | [[Persons of Interest]]
(Page content)
[[Main Page|New Theatre Home]] | [[Persons of Interest]]


There are also some styles to make the pages easier to read. I assume people skim for names of people and plays, so there's a style to colour highlight the text. Example page: The Worker Players.

For example:

<span class="person">Jean Devanny</span>
<span class="play">St Joan</span>

Styles include:

  • play - art work in general
  • char - character in script - but by preference, use blockquote.script and bold the character name
  • person - New Theatre person of interest
  • writer - playwright or other writer
  • group - collective of interest

Always use a style class to highlight text. Then, if later you want to change the style for a class, you change it consistently throughout by editing the styles page: MediaWiki:Common.css

Block Quotes

To indent a block:

Indented block

That's it.


Indented block

That's it.

Script Excerpts

There's a block quote style for these. Specify class="script". See The 1930s - Workers and Unemployment:

<blockquote class="script">
'''Crass''': The country is being ruined by foreigners. 
'''Owen''': Hundreds out of employment.  Are you going to tell me the waiters down at the Grand Hotel are the cause of that?

'''Sawkins''': Cor blimey, now you’ve started him off.



Crass: The country is being ruined by foreigners.

Owen: Hundreds out of employment. Are you going to tell me the waiters down at the Grand Hotel are the cause of that?

Sawkins: Cor blimey, now you’ve started him off.



There are templates for boilerplate text such as headers and footers.

They simplify the syntax and help with consistency.

Usage is described in the templates.








A comment is text you can read in the source, but that doesn't appear to the reader. Comments are handy for leaving notes for yourself and other editors. You can comment out a section of text, rather than delete it, in order to hide it. Use HTML comments:

<!-- comment text that does not appear -->

Uploading and Linking to a PDF

To upload a file, use the Upload file page.

Files types that can be uploaded are listed if you choose a file with the wrong extension:

Permitted file types: png, gif, jpg, jpeg, webp, pdf.

To link to a file, rather than embed an image, see Mediawiki help:

For example:

[[Media:Radical Theatre Mobility.pdf ‎|Radical Theatre Mobility]]


Radical Theatre Mobility