Black Theatre Making and Censorship in the Archive

Theatre performers

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Explore Black theatre making in the Lord Chamberlain’s Plays collection.

Unfortunately, an electrical fault is affecting some of our onsite services including those in our Knowledge Centre Theatre, and it is no longer possible to run this event as planned. We hope to reschedule the event at a later date.

Black theatre making is often written out of the archive, credited to white theatre practitioners, or catalogued in ways that make it hard to find. But because Black theatre makers were frequently at the forefront of movements for change, their work was regularly subject to censorship and surveillance and collected in state archives.

This panel discussion and performance explores Black theatre making in the Lord Chamberlain’s Plays Collection, an archive which owes its existence to British theatre censorship laws requiring theatre managers to obtain a license to stage a new play up until 1968.

Come and find out how Black theatre practitioners are talking back to archives of censorship to recover the rich heritage of Black theatre making.

The event will feature staged readings from theatre manuscripts and censored reports held in the Lord Chamberlain’s collection and a chance for audience members to consider what they would censor if these plays were performed today.

This event is supported by the Independent Social Research Foundation as part of the ‘Archives of Cultural Surveillance and the Making of Black Histories’ project

The event is organised by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library. The Eccles Centre exists to support and promote creative research and lifelong learning about the Americas, through the world-class collections of the British Library.


Image Credit: Scene from the Broadway production of the American Negro Theatre's ‘Anna Lucasta’, photograph by Fred Fehl (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, New York Public Library, Catalog ID (B-number): b11545376).

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Name: Black Theatre Making and Censorship in the Archive
Where: Leeds Playhouse
Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546